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|1nn(cb bj) Poon anb |tl«ijjl^j), 
2, ckami'Ton-quav, 




Sfc, ^c, Sfc. 

My Dear Lord, 

I present for your Lordship's kind accept- 
ance and patronage the first work which I pub- 
lish as a Father of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. 
I have a sort of claim upon your permission to do 
so, as a token of my gratitude and affection 
toward your Lordship, since it is to you princi- 
pally that I owe it, under God, that I am a client 
and subject, however unworthy, of so great a 

When I found myself a Catholic, I also found 
myself in your Lordship's district ; and, at your 
suggestion, I first moved into your immediate 
neighbourhood, and then, when your Lordship 
further desired it, I left you for Home. There 
it was my blessedness to be allowed to offer 
myself, with the condescending approval of the 
Holy Father, to the service of St. Philip, of whom 


I had so often heard you speak before I left 
England, and whose bright and beautiful charac- 
ter had won my devotion, even when I was a 

You see then, my dear Lord, how much you 
have to do with my present position in the 
Church. But your concern with it is greater 
than I have yet stated ; for I cannot forget, that 
when, in the year 1839, a doubt first crossed my 
mind of the tenableness of the theological theory 
on which Anglicanism is based, it was caused in 
no slight degree by the perusal of a controversial 
paper, attributed to your Lordship, on the schism 
of the Donatists. 

That the glorious intercession of St. Philip 
may be the reward of your faithful devotion to 
himself, and of your kindness to me, is. 

My dear Lord, 
While I ask yoar Lordship's blessing on me and 
mine, the earnest prayer of 
Your affectionate friend and servant, 



In Fest. S. Caroli, 



I. The Salvation of the Hearer the Motive of the 

Preacher .....••! 
II. Neglect of Divine Calls and Warnings . . 25 

III. Men, not Angels, the Priests of the Gospel . 49 

IV. Purity and Love . . . . • • 71 
V. Saintliness the Standard of Christian Principle 96 

VI. God's Will the End of Life . . . .120 
VII. Perseverance in Grace . . . . .143 

VIII. Nature and Grace 168 

IX. Illuminating Grace 196 

X. Faith and Private Judgment .... 223 

XI. Faith and Doubt 249 

XII. Prospects of the Catholic Missioner . . 277 

XIII. Mysteries of Nature and of Grace . . . 302 

XIV. The Mystery of Divine Condescension . . 330 
XV. The Infinitude of the Divine Attributes . . 355 

XVI. Mental Sufferings of our Lord in His Passion 376 

XVII. The Glories of Mary for the sake of her Son . 398 

XVIII. On the Fitness of the Glories of Mary . .419 



When a body of men come into a neighbourhood 
to them unknown, as we are doing, my brethren, 
strangers to strangers, and there set themselves 
down, and raise an altar, and open a school, and 
invite, or even exhort all men to attend them, it 
is natural that they who see them, and are drawn 
to think about them, should ask the question. 
What brings them hither ? Who bids them come ? 
What do they want ? What do they preach ? 
What is their warrant ? What do they promise ? 
— You have a right, my brethren, to ask the 

Many, however, will not stop to ask it, as 
thinking they can answer it without difficulty for 
themselves. Many there are who would promptly 
and confidently answer it, according to their own 



habitual view of things, on their own principles, 
the principles of the world. The views, the 
principles, the aims of the world are very definite, 
are everywhere acknowledged, and are incessantly 
acted on. They supply an explanation of the 
conduct of others, whoever they be, ready at 
hand, and so sure to be true in the common run 
of cases, as to be probable and plausible in any 
case in particular. When we would account for 
effects which we see, we of course refer them to 
causes which we know of. To fancy causes of 
which we know nothing, is not to account for 
them at all. The world then naturally and neces- 
sarily judges of others by itself. Those who live 
the life of the world, and act from motives of the 
world, and live and act with those who do the 
like, as a matter of course ascribe the actions of 
others, however different they may be from their 
own,- to one or other of the motives which weigh 
with themselves ; for some motive or other they 
must assign, and they can imagine none but those 
of which they have experience. 

We know how the world goes on, especially 
in this country ; it is a laborious, energetic, inde- 
fatigable world. It takes up objects enthusiasti- 
cally, and vigorously carries them through. Look 
into the world, as its course is faithfully traced 
day by day in those publications which are devo- 
ted to its service, and you will see at once the 


ends which stimulate it, and the views which 
govern it. You will read of great and persever- 
ing exertions, made for some tempo ral end, good 
or bad, but still temporal. Some temporal end it 
is, even if it be not a selfish one ; — generally, 
indeed, it is such as name, influence, power, 
wealth, station, sometimes it is the rehef of the ills 
of human life or society, of ignorance, sickness, 
poverty, or vice — still some temporal end it is, 
which is the exciting and animating principle of 
those exertions. And so pleasant is the excite- 
ment which those temporal objects create, that it 
is often its own reward ; insomuch that, forgetting 
the end for which they toil, men find a satisfaction 
in the toil itself, and are sufficiently repaid for 
their trouble by their trouble, — by the struggle for 
success, and the rivalry of party, and the trial of 
their skill, and the demand upon their resources, 
by the vicissitudes and hazards, and ever new 
emergencies and varying requisitions of the con- 
test which they carry on, though that contest 
never comes to an end. 

Such is the way of the world ; and therefore, 
I say, it is not unnatural, that, when it sees any 
persons whatever anywhere begin to work with 
energy, and attempt to get others about them, 
and act in outward appearance like itself, though 
in a different direction, and with a religious pro- 
fession, it unhesitatingly imputes to them the mo- 


tives which influence, or would influence its own 
children. Often by way of blame, but sometimes 
not as blaming, but as merely stating a plain fact, 
which it thinks undeniable, it takes for granted 
that they are ambitious, or restless, or eager for 
distinction, or fond of power. It knows no 
better ; and it is vexed and annoyed if, as time 
goes on, one thing or another is seen in the con- 
duct of those whom it criticises, which is inconsis- 
tent with the assumption on which, in the first 
instance, it so summarily settled their position and 
anticipated their course. It took a general view 
of them, looked them through, as it thought, and 
from some one action of theirs which came to its 
knowledge, assigned to them unhesitatingly some 
particular motive as their habitual actuating prin- 
ciple ; but presently it finds it is obliged to shift 
its ground, to take up some new hypothesis, and 
explain to itself their character and their conduct 
over again. O my dear brethren, the world can- 
not help doing so, because it knows us not ; it 
ever will be impatient with us for not being of 
the world, because it is the world ; it is neces- 
sarily blind to the one motive which has influence 
with us, and, tired out at length with hunting 
through its catalogues and note books for a de- 
scription of us, it sits down in disgust, after its 
many conjectures, and flings us aside as inexpli- 
cable, or hates us as if mysterious and designing. 


My brethren, we have secret views,— secret, 
that is, from men of this world ; secret from 
pohticians, secret from the slaves of mammon, 
secret from all ambitious, covetous, selfish, and 
voluptuous men. For religion itself, Kke its 
Divine Author and Teacher, is, as I have said, an 
hidden thing from them ; and, not knowing it, 
they cannot use it as a key to interpret the con- 
duct of those who are influenced by it. They 
do not know the ideas and motives which rehgion 
sets before the mind which it has made its own. 
They do not enter into them, or realise them, even 
when they are told them ; and they do not believe 
that a man can be influenced by them, even when 
he professes them. They cannot put themselves 
into the position of a man simply striving, in 
what he does, to please God. They are so narrow- 
minded, such is the meanness of their intellectual 
make, that, when a Catholic makes profession of 
this or that doctrine of the Church, — sin, judg- 
ment, heaven and hell, the blood of Christ, the 
power of Saints, the intercession of the Blessed 
Virgin, or the Real Presence in the Eucharist, — 
and says that these are the objects which inspire 
his thoughts and direct his actions through the 
day, they cannot take in that he is in earnest ; for 
they think, forsooth, that these points ought to be 
his very difficulties, and are at most nothing more 
than trials to his faith, and that he gets over them 


by putting force on his reason, and thinks of them 
as little as he can, and they do not dream that 
truths such as these have a hold upon his 
heart, and exert an influence on his life. No 
wonder, then, that the sensual, and worldly- 
minded, and the unbelieving, are suspicious of 
one whom they cannot comprehend, and are so 
intricate and circuitous in their imputations, when 
they cannot bring themselves to accept an expla- 
nation, which is straight before them. So it has 
been from the beginning ; the Jews preferred to 
ascribe the conduct of our Lord and His fore- 
runner to any motive but that of a desire to fulfil 
the will of God. They were, as He says, like 
children sitting in the market-place, which cry to 
their companions, saying, " We have piped to you, 
and you have not danced ; we have lamented to 
you, and you have not mourned." And then He 
goes on to account for it : "I thank Thee, Father, 
Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid 
these things from the wise and prudent, and hast 
revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father ; for 
so hath it been pleasing in Thy sight." 

Let the world have its way, let it say what it 
will about us, my brethren ; but that does not 
hinder our saying what we think, and what the 
eternal God thinks and says, about the world. 
We have as good a right to have our own judg- 
ment about the world, as the world to have its 


judgment about us : and we mean to exercise that 
right ; for, while we know well that it judges us 
amiss, we have God's testimony that we judge it 
truly. While, then, it is eager in ascribing our 
earnestness to one or other of its own motives, 
hsten to me, while I show you, as it is not difficult 
to do, that it is our very fear and hatred of those 
motives, and our compassion for the souls pos- 
sessed by them, which makes us so busy and so 
troublesome, which prompts us to settle down in 
a district, so destitute of temporal recommenda- 
tions, but so overrun with religious error and so 
populous in souls. 

O my brethren, little does the world, engrossed, 
as it is, with things of time and sense, little does 
it trouble itself about souls, about the state of 
souls in God's sight, about their past history, and 
about their prospects for the future. The world 
forms its views of things for itself, and in its own 
way, and lives in them. It never stops to consider 
whether they are sound and true ; nor does it 
come into its thought to seek for any external 
standard, or channel of information, by which 
their truth can be ascertained. It is content to 
take things for granted according to their first 
appearance ; it does not stop to think of God ; it 
lives for the day, and (in a perverse sense) " is not 
sollicitous for the morrow." What it sees, tastes, 
handles, is enough for it ; this is the limit of its 


knowledge and of its aspirations ; what tells, 
what works well, is alone respectable ; efficiency 
is the measure of duty, and power is the rule of 
right, and success is the test of truth. It believes 
what it experiences, it disbelieves what it cannot 
demonstrate. And, in consequence, it teaches 
that a man has not much to do to be saved ; that 
either he has committed no great sins, or that he 
will, as a matter of course, be pardoned for com- 
mitting them ; that he may securely trust in 
God's mercy for his prospects in eternity ; and 
that he ought to discard all self-reproach, or de- 
precation, or penance, all mortification and self- 
discipline, as affronting or derogatory to that 
mercy. This is what the world teaches, by its 
many sects and philosophies, about our condition 
in this life ; but what, on the other hand, does 
the Catholic Church teach concerning it ? 

She teaches that man was originally made in 
God's image, was God's adopted son, was the heir 
of eternal glory, and, in foretaste of eternity, was 
partaker here on earth of great gifts and manifold 
graces ; and she teaches, that now he is a fallen 
being. He is under the curse of original sin ; he 
is deprived of the grace of God ; he is a child of 
wrath ; he cannot attain to heaven, and he is in 
peril of sinking into hell. I do not mean he is 
fated to perdition by some necessary law ; he 
cannot perish without his own real will and dee d 


and God gives him, even in his natural state, a 
multitude of inspirations and helps to lead him on 
to faith and obedience. There is no one born of 
Adam but might be saved, as far as divine assist- 
ances are concerned ; yet, looking at the power of 
temptation, the force of the passions, the strength 
of self-love and self-will, the sovereignty of pride 
and sloth, in every one of his children, who will 
be bold enough to assert of any particular soul, 
that it will he able to maintain itself in obedience, 
without an abundance, a profusion of grace, not 
to be expected, as bearing no proportion, 1 do not 
say simply to the claims (for they are none), but 
to the strict needs of human nature ? We may 
securely prophesy of every man born into the 
world, that, if he comes to years of understanding, 
he will, in spite of God's general assistances, fall 
into mortal sin and lose his soul. It is no light, 
no ordinary succour, by which man is taken out 
of his own hands and defended against himself. 
He requires an extraordinary remedy. Now 
what a thought is this ! what a light does it cast 
upon man's present state ! how different from the 
view which the world takes of it ! how piercing, 
how overpowering in its influence on the hearts 
that admit it ! 

Contemplate, my brethren, more minutely the 
history of a soul born into the world, and edu- 
cated according to its principles, and the idea, 

B 2 


which I am putting before you, will grow on you. 
The poor infant passes through his two, or three, 
or five years of innocence, blessed in that he 
cannot yet sin ; but at length, (O woeful day !) 
he begins to realize the distinction between right 
and wrong. Alas ! sooner or later, for the age 
varies, but sooner or later the awful day has 
come ; he has the power, the great, the dreadful, 
the awful power of discerning and pronouncing a 
thing to be wrong, and yet doing it. He has a 
distinct view that he shall grievously offend his 
Maker and his Judge by doing this or that ; and, 
while he is really able to keep from it, he is at 
liberty to choose it, and to commit it. He has the 
dreadful power of committing a mortal sin. 
Young as he is, he has as true an apprehension of 
that sin, and can give as real a consent, as did the 
evil spirit, when he fell. The day is come, and 
who shall say whether it will have closed, whether 
it will have run out many hours, before he will 
have exercised that power, and have perpetrated, 
in fact, what he ought not to do, what he need 
not do, what he can do ? Who is there wdiom we 
ever knew, of whom we can assert that, had he 
remained in a state of nature, he would have used 
the powers given him, — that if he be in a state of 
nature, he has used the powers given him, — in 
such a way as to escape the guilt and penalty of 
offending Almighty God ? No, my brethren, a 


large town like this is a fearful sight. We walk 
the streets, and what numbers are there of those 
who meet us who have never been baptized at all ! 
And the remainder, what is it made up of, but for 
the most part of those who, though baptized, have 
sinned against the grace given them, and even 
from early youth have thrown themselves out of 
that fold in which alone is salvation ! Reason 
and sin have gone together from the first. Poor 
child ! he looks the same to his parents ; they do 
not know what has been going on in him ; or 
perhaps, did they know it, they would think very 
little of it, for they are in a state of mortal sin as 
well as he. They too, long before they knew 
each other, had sinned, and mortally too, and were 
never reconciled to God ; thus they lived for 
years, unmindful of their state. At length they 
married ; it was a day of joy to them, but not to 
the Angels ; they might be in high life or in low 
estate, they might be prosperous or not in their 
temporal course, but their union was not blessed 
by God. They gave birth to a child ; he was not 
condemned to hell on his birth, but he had the 
omens of evil upon him, it seemed that he would 
go the way of all flesh : and now the time is 
come ; the presage is justified ; and he wil- 
lingly departs from God. At length the forbid- 
den fruit has been eaten ; sin has been devoured 
with a pleased appetite ; the gates of hell have 


yawned upon him, silently and without his know- 
ing it ; he has no eyes to see its flames, but its 
inhabitants are gazing upon him ; his place in it 
is fixed beyond dispute ; — unless his Maker in- 
terfere in some extraordinary way, he is doomed. 
Yet his intellect does not stay its growth, be- 
cause he is the slave of sin. It opens : time 
passes ; he learns perhaps various things ; he may 
have good abilities, and be taught to cultivate 
them. He may have engaging manners ; any how 
he is light-hearted and merry, as boys are. He is 
gradually educated for the world ; he forms his 
own judgments, chooses his principles, and is 
moulded to a certain character. That character 
may be more, it may be less amiable ; it may have 
much or little of natural virtue : it matters not: 
the mischief is within ; it is done, and it spreads. 
The devil is unloosed and abroad in him. For a 
while, he used some sort of prayers, but he has 
left them off ; they were but a form, and he had 
no heart for it ; — why should he continue them ? 
and what w^as the use of them ? and what the 
obligation ? So he has reasoned ; and he has 
acted upon his reasoning, and ceased to pray. 
Perhaps this was his first sin, that original mortal 
sin, which threw him out of grace — a disbelief in 
the power of prayer. As a child, he refused to 
pray, and argued that he was too old to pray, and 
that his parents did not pray. He gave prayer 


up, and in came the devil, and took possession of 
him, and made himself at home, and revelled in 
his heart. 

Poor child ! Every day adds fresh and fresh 
mortal sins to his account ; the pleadings of 
grace have less and less effect upon him ; he 
breathes the breath of evil, and day by day be- 
comes more fatally corrupted. He has cast off 
the thought of God, and set up self in His place. 
He has rejected the traditions of religion which 
float about him, and has chosen instead the more 
congenial traditions of the world, to be the guide 
of his life. He is confident in his own views, 
and does not suspect that evil is before him, and 
in his path. He learns to scoff at serious men 
and serious things, catches at any story circulated 
against them, and speaks positively when he has 
no means of judging or knowing. The less he 
believes of revealed doctrine, the wiser he thinks 
himself to be. Or, if his natural temper keeps 
him from becoming hard-hearted, still from easi- 
ness and from imitation he joins in mockery of 
holy persons and holy things, as far as they come 
across him. He is sharp, and ready, and humo- 
rous, and employs these talents in the cause of 
Satan. He has a secret antipathy to religious 
truths and religious doings, a disgust which he is 
scarcely aware of, and could not explain, if he 
were. So was it with Cain, the eldest born of 


Adam, who went on to murder his brother, be- 
cause his works were just. So was it with those 
poor boys at Bethel who mocked the great prophet 
Ehseus, crying out, Go up, thou bald head ! Any 
thing serves the purpose of a scoiF and taunt to 
the natural man, when irritated by the sight of 

O my brethren, I might go on to mention those 
other more loathsome and more hidden wicked- 
nesses which germinate and propagate within him, 
as time proceeds, and life opens on him. Alas ! 
who shall sound the depths of that evil whose 
wages is death ? O what a dreadful sight to look 
on is this fallen world, specious and fair outside, 
plausible in its professions, ashamed of its own 
sins and hiding them, yet a mass of corruption 
under the surface ! Ashamed of its sins, yet not 
confessing to itself that they are sins, but defend- 
ing them if conscience upbraids, and perhaps 
boldly saying, or at least implying, that, if an im- 
pulse be allowable in itself, it must be always 
right in an individual, nay, that self-gratification is 
its own warrant, and that temptation is the voice 
of God. Why should I attempt to analyze the 
intermingling influences, or to describe the com- 
bined power, of pride and lust, — lust exploring a 
way to evil, and pride fortifying the road, — till 
the first elementary truths of revelation are looked 
upon as mere nursery tales ? No, I have intended 


nothing more than to put wretched nature upon 
its course, as I may call it, and there to leave it, 
my brethren, to your reflections, to that individual 
comment which each of you may be able to put 
on this faint delineation, realizing in your own 
mind and your own conscience what no words 
can duly set forth. 

His temporal course proceeds : the boy has 
become a man ; he has taken up a profession or a 
trade ; he has fair success in it ; he marries, as 
his father did before him. He plays his part in 
the scene of mortal life ; his connexions extend 
as he gets older : whether in a higher or a lower 
sphere of society he has his reputation and his 
influence ; the reputation and the influence of, we 
will say, a sensible, prudent, and shrewd man. 
His children grow up around him ; middle age is 
over,— his sun declines in the heavens. In the 
balance and by the measure of the world, he is 
come to an honourable and venerable old age ; he 
has been a child of the world, and the world ac- 
knowledges and praises him. But what is he in 
the balance of heaven ? What shall we say of 
God's judgment of him ? What about his soul ?— 
about his soul f Ah, his soul ! he had forgotten 
that ; he had forgotten he had a soul, but it re- 
mains from first to last in the sight of its Maker. 
Posuisti scBCulum nostrum in illuminatione vul- 
tics Tui ; " Thou hast placed our life in the illu- 


mination of Thy countenance." Alas ! alas ! 
about his soul the world knows, the world cares, 
nought ; it does not recognize the soul ; it owns 
nothing in him but an intellect naanifested in a 
mortal frame ; it cares for the man while he is 
here, it loses sight of him when he is there. Still 
the time is coming when he is leaving hei'e, and 
will find himself there ; he is going out of sight, 
amid the shadows of that unseen world, about 
which the visible world is so sceptical ; so, it con- 
cerns us who have a belief of that unseen world, 
to inquire, " How fares it all this while with his 
soul ? Alas ! he has had pleasures and sa- 
tisfactions in life, he has, I say, a good name 
among men ; he sobered his views as life went 
on, and he began to think that order and religion 
were good things, that a certain deference was to 
be paid to the religion of his country, and a cer- 
tain attendance to be given to its public worship ; 
but he is still, in our Lord's words, nothing else 
but a whited sepulchre ; he is foul within with the 
bones of the dead and all uncleanness. All the 
sins of his youth, never repented of, never put 
away, his old profanenesses, his impurities, his 
animosities, his idolatries are rotting within him ; 
only covered over and hidden by successive layers 
of newer and later sins. His heart is the home of 
darkness, it has been handled, defiled, possessed 
by evil spirits ; he is a being without faith, and 


without hope ; if he holds anything for truth, it is 
only as an opinion, and if he has a sort of calm- 
ness and peace, it is the calmness, not of heaven, 
but of decay and dissolution. And now his old 
enemy has thrust aside his good angel, and is 
sitting near him ; rejoicing in his victory, and 
patiently waiting for his prey ; not tempting him 
to fresh sins lest he should disturb his conscience, 
but simply letting well alone ; letting him amuse 
himself with shadows of faith, shadows of piety, 
shadows of worship ; aiding him readily in dress- 
ing himself up in some form of religion which may 
satisfy the weakness of his declining age, as 
knowing well that he cannot last long, that his 
death is a matter of time, and that he shall soon 
be able to carry him down with him to his fiery 

O how awful ! and at last the inevitable hour 
is come. He dies — he dies quietly — his friends 
are satisfied about him. They return thanks 
that God has taken him, has released him from 
the troubles of life and the pains of sickness ; " a 
good father," they say, " a good neighbour," " sin- 
cerely lamented," " lamented by a large circle of 
friends." Perhaps they add, " dying with a firm 
trust in the mercy of God ;" — nay, he has need of 
something beyond mercy, he has need of some 
attribute which is inconsistent with perfection, 
and which is not, cannot be, in the All-glorious, 


All-holy God ;— " with a trust," forsooth, " in the pro- 
mises of the Gospel," which never were his, or were 
early forfeited. And then, as time travels on, 
every now and then is heard some passing re- 
membrance of him, respectful or tender ; but he 
all the while (in spite of this false world, and 
though its children will not have it so, and ex- 
claim, and protest, and are indignant when so 
solemn a truth is hinted at) long ago he has lifted 
up his eyes, being in torment, and lies " buried in 

Such is the history of a man in a state of nature, 
or in a state of defection, to whom the Gospel has 
never been a reality, in whom the good seed has 
never taken root, on whom God's grace has been 
shed in vain, with whom it has never prevailed so 
far as to make him seek His face and to ask for 
those higher gifts which lead to heaven. Such is 
his dark record. But I have spoken of only one 
man : alas ! my dear brethren, it is the record of 
thousands ; it is, in one shape or other, the record 
of all the children of the world. " As soon as 
they are born," the wise man says, " they forth- 
with have ceased to be, and they are powerless to 
show any sign of virtue, and are wasted away in 
their wickedness." They may be rich or poor, 
learned or ignorant, polished or rude, decent out- 
wardly and self-disciphned, or scandalous in their 
lives, — but at bottom they are all one and the 


same ; they have not faith, they have not love ; 
they are impure, they are proud ; they all agree 
together very well, both in opinions and conduct ; 
they see that they agree ; and this agreement they 
take as a proof that their conduct is right and 
their opinions true. Such as is the tree, such is 
the fruit ; no wonder the fruit is the same, when 
it comes of the same root of unregenerate, unre- 
newed nature ; but they consider it good and 
wholesome, because it is matured in so many ; 
and they chase away, as odious, unbearable, and hor- 
rible, the pure and heavenly doctrine of Revelation, 
because it is so severe upon themselves. No one 
likes bad news, no one welcomes what condemns 
him ; the world slanders the Truth in self-defence, 
because the Truth denounces the world. 

My brethren, if these things be so, or rather 
(for this is the point here), if we. Catholics, firmly 
believe them to be so, so firmly believe them,thatwe 
feel it would be happy for us to die rather than doubt 
them, is it wonderful, does it require any abstruse 
explanation, that men minded as we are should 
come into the midst of a population such as this, 
and into a neighbourhood where religious error 
has sway, and where corruption of life prevails 
both as its cause and as its consequence ; — a popu- 
lation, not worse indeed than the rest of the 
world, but not better ; not better, because it has not 
with it the gift of Catholic truth, not purer because 


it has not within it that gift of grace which alone 
can destroy impurity ; a population, sinful, I am 
certain, given to unlawful indulgences, laden with 
guilt and exposed to eternal ruin, because it is 
not blessed with that Presence of the Word In- 
carnate, which diffuses sweetness, and tranquillity, 
and chastity, over the heart ; — is it a thing to be 
marvelled at, that we begin to preach to such a 
population as this, for which Christ died, and try 
to convert it to Him and to His Church ? Is it 
necessary to ask for reasons ? is it necessary to 
assign motives of this world, for a proceeding 
which is so natural in those who believe in the 
announcements and requirements of the other ? 
My dear brethren, if we are sure that the -Most 
Holy Redeemer has shed His blood for all men, 
is it not a very plain and simple consequence that 
we. His servants, His brethren, His priests, should 
be unwilling to see that blood shed in vain, — 
wasted, I may say, — as regards you, and should 
wish to make you partakers of those benefits which 
have been vouchsafed to ourselves ? Is it neces- 
sary for any bystander to call us vain-glorious, or 
ambitious, or restless, greedy of authority, fond of 
power, resentful, party-spirited, or the like, when 
here is so much more powerful, more present, 
more influential a motive to which our eagerness 
and zeal may be ascribed ? What is so powerful 
an incentive to preaching as the sure behef that 


it is the preaching of the truth ? What so con- 
strains to the conversion of souls, as the conscious- 
ness that they are at present in guilt and in 
peril ? What so great apersuasive to bring men 
into the Church, as the conviction that it is the 
special means by which God effects the salvation 
of those whom the world trains in sin and unbe- 
lief ? Only admit us to believe what we profess, 
and surely that is not asking a great deal, (for 
what have we done that we should be distrusted?) 
only admit us to beheve what we profess, and you 
will understand without difficulty what we are doing. 
We come among you, because we believe there is 
but one way of salvation, marked out from the 
beginning, and that you are not walking along it ; 
we come among you as ministers of that extraor- 
dinary grace of God, which you need ; we come 
among you, because we have received a great gift 
from God ourselves, and wish you to be partakers 
of our joy ; because it is written, " Freely ye have 
received, freely give ;" because we dare not hide 
in a napkin those mercies, and that grace of God, 
which have been given us, not for our own sake 
only, but for the benefit of others. 

Such a zeal, poor and feeble though it be in us, 
has been the very life of the Church, and the 
breath of her preachers and missionaries in all 
ages. It was such a sacred fire which brought 
our Lord from heaven, and which He desired, 


which He travailed, to communicate to all around 
Him. " I am come to send fire on the earth," 
He says, " and what will I, but that it be kin- 
dled ?" Such, too, was the feeling of the great 
Apostle to whom his Lord appeared in order to 
impart to him this fire. " I send thee to the 
Gentiles," He had said to him on his conversion, 
" to open their eyes, that they may be converted 
from darkness to light, and from the power of 
Satan unto God." And, accordingly, he at once 
began to preach to them, that they should do 
penance, and turn to God with worthy fruits of 
penance, " for," as he says, " the charity of Christ 
m'ged him," and he was " made all things to all 
that he might save all," and he " bore all for the 
elect's sake, that they might obtain the salvation 
which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory." 
Such, too, was the fire of zeal which burned 
within those preachers, to whom we English 
owe our Christianity. What brought them from 
Rome to this distant isle, and to a barbarian people, 
amid many fears, and with much suffering, but 
the sovereign uncontrollable desire to save the 
perishing, and to knit the members and slaves of 
Satan into the body of Christ ? This has been 
the secret of the propagation of the Church from 
the very first, and will be to the end ; this is why 
the Church, under the grace of God, to the 
surprise of the world, converts the nations, and 


why no sect can do the like ; this is why CathoHc 
missionaries throw themselves so generously 
among the fiercest savages, and risk the most 
cruel torments, as knowing the worth of the soul, 
as realizing the world to come, as loving their 
brethren dearly, though they never saw them, as 
shuddering at the thought of eternal woe, and as 
desiring to increase the fruit of their Lord's pas- 
sion, and the triumphs of His grace. 

We, my brethren, are not worthy to be named 
in connexion with Evangelists, Saints, and Mar- 
tyrs ; we come to you in a peaceable time and in 
a well-ordered state of society, and recommended 
by that secret awe and reverence, which, say what 
they will, Englishmen for the most part, or in 
good part, feel for the religion of their fathers, 
which has left in the land so many memorials of 
its former sway. It requires no great zeal in us, 
no great charity, to come to you at no risk, and 
entreat you to turn from the path of death, and 
be saved. It requires nothing great, nothing 
heroic, nothing saintlike ; it does but require 
conviction, and that we have, that the Catholic 
Religion is given from God for the salvation of 
mankind, and that all other religions are but 
mockeries ; it requires nothing more than faith, a 
single purpose, an honest heart, and a distinct 
utterance. We come to you in the Name of 
God ; we ask no more of you, than that you 


would listen to us ; we ask no more than that 
you would judge for yourselves whether or not 
we speak God's words ; it shall rest with you 
whether we be God's priests and prophets or no. 
This is not much to ask, but it is more than most 
men will grant ; they do not dare to listen to us, 
they are impatient through prejudice, or they 
dread conviction. Yes ! many a one there is, 
who has even good reason to listen to us, on whom 
we have a claim to be heard, who ought to have 
a certain trust in us, who yet shuts his ears, and 
turns away, and chooses to hazard eternity with- 
out weighing what we have to say. How fright- 
ful is this ! but you are not, you cannot be such ; 
we ask not your confidence, my brethren, for you 
have never known us : we are not asking you to 
take for granted what we say, for we are strangers 
to you ; we do but simply bid you first to consider 
that you have souls to be saved, and next to 
judge for yourselves, whether, if God has revealed 
a religion of His own whereby to save those souls, 
that religion can be any other than the faith which 
we preach. 



No one sins without making some excuse to him- 
self for sinning. He is obliged to do so : man is 
not like the brute beasts ; he has a divine gift 
within him which we call reason, and which con- 
strains him to account before its judgment-seat 
for what he does. He cannot act at random ; 
however he acts, he must act by some kind of 
rule, on some sort of principle, else he is vexed 
and dissatisfied with himself Not that he is very 
particular whether he finds a good reason or a 
bad, when he is very much straitened for a 
reason ; but a reason of some sort he must have. 
Hence you sometimes find those who give up 
religious duty altogether, attacking the conduct of 
religious men, whether their acquaintance, or the 
ministers or professors of religion, as a sort of 
excuse — a very bad one — for their neglect 



Others will make the excuse that they are so far 
from church, or so closely occupied at home, 
whether they will or not, that they cannot serve 
God as they ought. Others say that it is no use 
trying to do so, that they have again and again 
gone to confession, and tried to keep out of mortal 
sin and cannot ; and so they give up the attempt 
as hopeless. Others, when they fall into sin, 
excuse themselves on the plea that they are but 
following nature ; that the impulses of nature are 
so very strong, and that it cannot be wrong to 
follow that nature which God has given us. 
Others are bolder still, and they cast off religion 
altogether : they deny its truth ; they deny 
Church, Gospel, and Bible ; they go so far per- 
haps as even to deny God's governance of His 
creatures. They boldly deny that there is any 
Jife after death : and, this being the case, of 
course they would be fools indeed not to take 
their pleasure here, and to make as much of this 
poor life as they can. 

And there are others, and to these I am going 
to address myself, who try to speak peace to 
themselves by cherishing the thought that some- 
thing or other will happen after all to keep them 
from eternal ruin, though they now continue in 
their neglect of God ; that it is a long time yet to 
death ; that there are many chances in their 
favour ; that they shall repent in process of time 


when they get old, as a matter of course ; that 
they mean to repent some day ; that they mean, 
sooner or later, seriously to take their state into 
account, and to make their ground good ; and, if 
they are Catholics, they add, that at least they 
will die with the last Sacraments, and that therefore 
they need not trouble themselves about the matter. 
Now these persons, my brethren, tempt God ; 
they try Him, how far His goodness will go ; and, 
it may be, they will try Him too long, and will 
have experience, not of His gracious forgiveness, 
but of His severity and His justice. In this spirit 
it was that the Israelites in the desert conducted 
themselves towards Almighty God ; instead of 
feeling awe of Him, they were free with Him, 
treated Him familiarly, made excuses, preferred 
complaints, upbraided Him ; as if the Eternal 
God had been a weak man, as if He had been 
their minister and servant ; in consequence, we 
are told by the inspired historian, " The Lord sent 
among the people fiery serpents." To this St. 
Paul refers, when he says, " Neither let us tempt 
Christ, as some of them tempted, and perished by 
the serpents ;" a warning to us now, that those 
who are forward and bold with their Almighty 
Saviour, will gain, not the pardon which they look 
for, but will find themselves within the folds of 
the old serpent, will drink in his poisonous breath, 
and at length will die under his fangs. That 


seducing spirit appeared in person to our blessed 
Lord in the days of His flesh, and tried to en- 
tangle Him, the Son of the Highest, in this very 
sin. He placed Him on the pinnacle of the 
Temple, and said to Him, " If thou art the Son 
of God, cast Thyself down, for it is written, 
He has given His Angels charge of Thee, 
and in their hands they shall lift Thee, lest per- 
chance Thou strike Thy foot against a stone ;" 
but our Lord's answer was, " It is also written, 
Thou shaltnot tempt the Lord Thy God." And 
so numbers are tempted now to cast themselves 
headlong down the precipice of sin, assuring 
themselves the while that they will never reach the 
hell which lies at the bottom, never dash upon 
its sharp rocks, or be plunged into its flames ; for 
Angels and Saints are there, in their extremity, in 
their final need, — or at least, God's general mer- 
cies, or His particular promises, — to interpose and 
bear them away safely. Such is the sin of these 
men, my brethren, of which I am going to speak ; 
not the sin of unbelief, or of pride, or of despair, 
but of presumption. 

1 will state more distinctly the kind of thoughts 
which go through their minds, and which quiet 
and satisfy them in their course of irreligion. 
They say to themselves, " I cannot give up sin 
now ; I cannot give up this or that indulgence ; 
I cannot break myself of this habit of intempe- 


ranee ; I cannot do without these unlawful gains ; 
I cannot leave these employers or superiors, who 
keep me from following my conscience. It is im- 
possible I should serve God now ; and I have no 
leisure to look into myself ; and I do not feel the 
wish to repent ; I have no heart for religion. 
But it will come easier by-and-by ; it will be as 
natural then to repent and be religious, as it is 
now natural to sin. I shall then have fewer 
temptations, fewer difficulties. Old people are 
sometimes indeed reprobates, but, generally speak- 
ing, they are religious ; they are religious almost 
as a matter of course ; they may curse and swear 
a little, and tell lies, and do such-like little things ; 
but still they are clear of mortal sin, and would be 
safe if they were suddenly taken off." And when 
some particular temptation comes on them, they 
think, " It is only one sin, and once in a way ; 
I never did the like before, and never will again, 
while I live ;" or, "I have done as bad before now, 
and it is only one sin more, and I shall have to re- 
pent any how ; and while I am about it, it will be 
as easy to repent of one sin more as of one less, 
for I shall have to repent of all sin ;" or again, 
" If I perish, I shall not w^ant company ; — what 
will happen to this person or that ? I am quite a 
Saint compared with such a one ; and I have 
known men repent, who have done much worse 
things than I have done." 


Now, my dear brethren, those who make such 
excuses to themselves, know neither what sin is 
in its own nature, nor what their own sins are in 
particular ; they understand neither the heinous- 
ness nor the multitude of their sins. It is neces- 
sary, then, to state distinctly one or two points of 
Catholic doctrine, which will serve to put this 
matter in a clearer view than men are accustomed 
to take of it. These truths are very simple and 
very obvious, but are quite forgotten by the 
persons of whom I have been speaking, or they 
would never be able to satisfy their reason and 
their conscience by such frivolous pleas and ex- 
cuses, as those which I have been drawing out. 

First then observe, that when a person says, 
" I have sinned as badly before now," or, " this is 
only one sin more," or, " I must repent any how, 
and then will repent once for all," and the like, 
he forgets that all his sins are in God's hand and 
in one page of the book of judgment, and already 
added up against him, according as each is com- 
mitted, up to the last of them ; that the sin 
he is now committing is not a mere single, isolated, 
sin, but that it is one of a series, of a long cata- 
logue ; that though it be but one, it is not sin 
one, or sin two, or sin three in the list, but it is 
the thousandth, the ten thousandth, or the hun- 
dred thousandth, in a long course of sinning. It 
is not the first of his sins, but the last, and perhaps 


the very last, the finishing sin. He himself for- 
gets, manages to forget, or tries to forget, wishes 
to forget, all his antecedent sins, or remembers 
them merely as instances of his having sinned 
with impunity before, and proofs that he may sin 
with impunity still. But every sin has a history : 
it is not an accident ; it is the fruit of former sins 
in thought or in deed : it is the token of a habit 
deeply seated and widely spread ; it is the aggra- 
vation of a virulent disease ; and, as the last straw 
is said to break the horse's back, so our last sin, 
whatever it is, is that which destroys our hope, 
and forfeits our place in heaven. Therefore, my 
brethren, it is but the craft of the devil, which 
makes you take your sins one by one, while God 
views them as a whole. " Signasti^ quasi in 
sacculo, delicta mea^'' says holy Job, " Thou hast 
sealed up my sins as in a bag," and one day they 
will all be counted out. Separate sins are like 
the touches and strokes which the painter gives, 
first one and then another, to the picture on his 
canvas ; and like the stones which the mason 
piles up and cements together for the house he is 
building. They are all connected together ; they 
tend to a whole ; they look towards an end, and 
they hasten on to their fulfilment. 

Go, commit this sin, my brethren, to which you 
are tempted, which you persist in viewing in itself 
alone, look on it as Eve looked on the forbidden 


fruit, dwell upon its lightness and insignificance ; 
and perhaps you may find it after all to be just 
the coping-stone of your high tower of rebellion, 
which comes into remembrance before God, and 
fills up the measure of your iniquities. " Fill ye 
up," says our Lord to the hypocritical Pharisees, 
" the measure of your fathers." The wrath, which 
came on Jerusalem, was not simply caused by the 
sins of that day, in which Christ came, though in 
that day was committed the most awful of all sins, 
viz., His rejection ; yet that was but the crowning 
sin of a long course of rebellion. So again, in an 
earlier age, the age of Abraham, ere the chosen 
people had got possession of the land of promise, 
there was already great and heinous sin among the 
heathen who inhabited it, yet they were not put out 
at once, and Abraham brought in ; — why? because 
God's mercies were not yet exhausted towards 
them. He still bestowed His grace on the 
abandoned people, and waited for their repentance. 
But He foresaw that He should wait in vain, and 
that the time of vengeance would come ; and this 
He implied when He said, that He did not give the 
chosen seed the land at once, " for as yet the ini- 
quities of the Amorrhites were not at the full." 
But they did come to the full some hundred years 
afterwards, and then the IsraeHtes were brought 
in, with the command to destroy them utterly with 
the sword. And again, you know the history of 


the impious Baltassar. In his proud feast, when 
he was now filled with wine, he sent for the gold 
and silver vessels which belonged to the Temple 
at Jerusalem, and had been brought to Babylon 
on the taking of the holy city,_he sent for these 
sacred vessels, that out of them be might drink 
more wine, he, his nobles, his wives, and his concu- 
bines. In that hour, the fingers as of a man's hand 
were seen upon the wall of the banqueting-room, 
writing the doom of the king and of his kingdom. 
The words were these : " God hath numbered 
thy kingdom, and hath finished it ; thou art 
weighed in the balance, and art found wanting." 
That wretched prince had kept no account of his 
sins ; as a spendthrift keeps no account of his 
debts, so he went on day after day and year after 
year, revelling in pride, cruelty, and sensual in- 
dulgence, and insulting his Master, till at length 
he exhausted the Divine Mercy, and filled up the 
chalice of wrath. His hour came : one more sin 
he did, and the cup overflowed ; vengeance over- 
took him on the instant, and he was cut oif from 
the earth. 

And that last sin need not be a great sin, 
need not be greater than those which have gone 
before it ; perhaps it may be less. There was a 
rich man, mentioned by our Lord, who, when his 
crops were plentiful, said within himself, " What 
shall I do, for I have not where to bestow my 

C 2 


fruits? I will pull down my barns, and build 
greater ; and I will say to my soul, Soul, thou 
hast much goods laid up for many years ; take 
thy rest, eat, drink, make good cheer." He was 
carried off that very night. This was not a very 
striking sin, and surely it was not his first great sin ; 
it was the last instance of a long course of acts 
of self-sufficiency and forgetfulness of God, not 
greater in intensity than any before it, but com- 
pleting their number. And so again, when the 
father of that impious king, whom I just now spoke 
of, when Nabuchodonosor had for a whole year 
neglected the warning of the prophet Daniel, 
calling him to turn from his pride and to repent, 
one day, as he walked in the palace of Babylon, 
he said, " Is not this great Babylon, which I have 
built for the home of the kingdom, in the strength 
of my power and in the glory of my excellence ?" 
and forthwith, while the word was yet in his 
mouth, judgment came upon him, and he was 
smitten with a new and strange disease, so that 
he was driven from men, and ate hay like the ox, 
and grew wild in his appearance, and lived in the 
open field. His consummating act of pride was 
not greater, perhaps, than any one of those which 
through the twelvemonth had preceded it. 

No ; you cannot decide, my brethren, whether 
you are outrunning God's mercy, merely because 
the sin you now commit seems to be a small one ; 


it is not always the greatest sin that is the last. 
Moreover you cannot calculate, which is the last 
sin, by the particular number of those which have 
gone before it, even if you could count them, for 
the number varies in different persons. This is 
another very serious circumstance. You may 
have committed but one or two sins, and yet find 
that you are ruined beyond redemption, though 
others who have done more are not. Why we 
know not, but God, who shows mercy and gives 
grace to all, shows greater mercy and gives more 
abundant grace to one man than another. To all 
He gives grace sufficient for their salvation ; to all 
He gives far more than they have any right to 
expect ; and they can claim none ; but to some 
He gives far more than to others. He tells us 
Himself, that, if the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon 
had seen the miracles done in Chorazin, they 
would have done penance and turned to Him. 
That is, there was that which would have con- 
verted them, and it was not granted to them. Till 
we set this before ourselves, we have not a right 
view either of sin in itself, or of our own pros- 
pects if we live in it. As God determines for each 
the measure of his stature, and the complexion of 
his mind, and the number of his days, yet not the 
same for all ; as one child of Adam is pre- 
ordained to live one day, and another eighty 
years, so is it fixed that one should be reserved 


for his eightieth sin, another cut off after his first. 
Why this is, we know not : but it is parallel to 
what is done in human matters without exciting 
any surprise. Of two convicted offenders one is 
pardoned, one is left to suffer ; and this might be 
done in a case where there was nothing to choose 
between the guilt of the one and of the other, and 
where the reasons which determine the difference 
of dealing towards the one and the other, what- 
ever they are, are external to the individuals 
themselves. In like manner you have heard, I 
dare say, of decimating rebels, when they had 
been captured, that is, of executing every tenth 
and letting off the rest. So it is also with God's 
judgments, though we cannot sound the reasons 
of them. He is not obliged to let off any ; He 
has the power to condemn all : I only bring this 
to show how our rule of justice here below does 
not preclude a difference of dealing with one man 
and with another. The Creator gives one man 
time for repentance. He carries off another by 
sudden death. He allows one man to die with 
the last Sacraments ; another dies without a Priest 
to receive his imperfect contrition, and to absolve 
him : the one is pardoned, and will go to heaven ; 
the other goes to the place of eternal punishment. 
No one can say how it will happen in his own 
case ; no one can promise himself that he shall have 
time for repentance ; or, if he have time, that he 


shall have any supernatural movement of the 
heart towards God ; or, even then, that a Priest 
will be at hand to give him absolution. We may 
have sinned less than our next door neighbour, 
yet that neighbour may be reserved for repent- 
ance and may reign w^ith Christ, while we may be 
punished with the evil spirit. 

Nay, some have been cut off and sent to hell 
for their first sin. This was the case, as divines 
teach, as regards the rebel Angels. For their 
first sin, and that a sin of thought, a single per- 
fected act of pride, they lost their first estate, and 
became devils. And Saints and holy people 
record instances of men, and even children, who 
in like manner have uttered a first blasphemy or 
other deliberate sin, and were cut off without 
remedy. And a number of similar instances occur 
in Scripture ; I mean of the awful punishment of 
a single sin, without respect to the virtue and 
general excellence of the sinner. Adam, for a 
single sin, small in appearance, the eating of the 
forbidden fruit, lost Paradise, and implicated all 
his posterity in his own ruin. The Bethsamites 
looked at the ark of the Lord, and more than fifty 
thousand of them in consequence were smitten, 
Oza touched it with his hand, as if to save it from ' 
falling, and he was struck dead on the spot for 
his rashness. The man of God from Juda ate 
bread and drank water at Bethel, against the com- 


mand of God, and he was forthwith killed by a 
hon on his return. Ananias and Sapphira told 
one lie, and fell down dead almost as the words 
left their mouth. Who are we, that God should 
wait for our repentance any longer, when He has 
not waited at all, before He cut off those who 
sinned less than we ? 

O my dear brethren, these presumptuous 
thoughts of ours arise from a defective notion of 
the malignity of sin viewed in itself We are 
criminals, and we are no judges in our own case. 
We are fond of ourselves, and we take our own 
part, and we are familiar with sin, and, from pride, 
we do not like to confess ourselves lost. For 
all these reasons, we have no real idea what sin 
is, what its punishment is, and what grace is. 
We do not know what sin is, because we 
do not know what God is ; we have no 
standard with which to compare it till we 
know what God is. Only God's glories. His 
perfections. His holiness. His Majesty, His beauty, 
can teach us by the contrast how to think of sin ; 
and since we do not see God here, till we see Him, 
we cannot form a just judgment what sin is ; till 
we enter heaven, we must take what God tells us 
of sin, on faith. Nay, even then, we shall be able 
to condemn sin, only so far as we are able to see 
and praise and glorify God ; He alone can duly 
judge of sin who can comprehend God ; He only 


judged of sin according to the fulness of its evil, 
who, knowing the Father from eternity with a 
perfect knowledge, showed what He thought of 
sin by dying for it ; He only, who was willing, 
though He was God, to suffer inconceivable pains 
of soul and body in order to make a satisfaction 
for it. Take Plis word, or rather, His deed, for 
the truth of this awful doctrine, — that a single 
mortal sin is enough to cut you off from God for 
ever. Go down to the grave with a single unre- 
pented, unforgiven sin upon you, and you have 
enough to sink you down to hell ; you have that, 
which to a certainty will be your ruin. It may be 
the hundredth sin, or it may be the first sin, no 
matter : one is enough to sink you ; though, the 
more you have, the deeper you will sink. You 
need not have your fill of sin in order to perish 
eternally ; there are those who lose both this world 
and the next ; they choose rebellion, and receive, 
not its gains, but death. 

Or grant, that God's anger delays its course, 
and you have time to add sin to sin, this is only 
to increase the punishment when it comes. God 
is terrible, when He speaks to the sinner ; He is 
more terrible, when He refrains ; He is more terri- 
ble, when He is silent, and accumulates wrath. 
Alas ! there are those who are allowed to spend a 
longlife, anda happylife,inneglectof Him,andhave 
nothing in the outward course of things to remind 


them of what is coming, till their irreversible 
sentence bursts upon them. As the stream flows 
smoothly before the cataract, so with these per- 
sons does life pass along swiftly and silently, 
serenely and joyously. " They are not in the 
labour of men, neither shall they be scourged hke 
other men." " They are filled with hidden things ; 
they are full of children, and leave their remains 
to their little ones." " Their houses are secure 
and at peace, neither is the rod of God upon 
them. Their little ones go out like a flock, and 
their children dance and play. They take the 
timbrel and the harp, and rejoice at the sound of 
the organ. They spend their days in good, and 
in a moment they go down to hell." So was it 
with Jerusalem, when God had deserted it ; it 
seemed never so prosperous before. Herod the 
king had lately rebuilt the Temple ; and the 
marbles with which it was cased were wonderful 
for size and beauty, and it rose bright and glitter- 
ing in the morning sun. The disciples called 
their Lord to look at it, but He did but see in it 
the whited sepulchre of a reprobate people, and 
foretold its overthrow. " See ye all these things ?" 
He answered them, " Amen, I say to you, stone 
shall not be here left upon stone, which shall not 
be thrown down." And " He beheld the city, 
and wept over it, saying. If thou hadst known, 
even thou, and in this thy day, the things that are 

n.] AND WAEMNGS. 41 

for thy peace, but now they are hidden from 
thine eyes !" Hid, indeed, was her doom ; for 
millions crowded within the guilty city at her 
yearly festival, and her end seemed a long way 
off, and ruin to belong to a far future age, when it 
was at the door, 

O the change, my brethren, the dismal change 
at last, when the sentence has gone forth, and life 
ends, and eternal death begins ! The poor sinner 
has gone on so long in sin, that he has forgotten 
he has sin to repent of. He has learned to forget 
that he is living in a state of enmity to God. He 
no longer makes excuses, as he did at first. He 
lives in the world, and believes nothing about the 
Sacraments, nor puts any trust in a Priest, if he 
falls in with one. Perhaps he has hardly ever 
heard the Catholic religion mentioned, except for 
the purpose of abuse ; and never has spoken of it, 
but to ridicule it. His thoughts are taken up with 
his family and with his occupation ; and if he 
thinks of death, it is with repugnance, as what 
will separate him from this world, not with fear, 
as what will introduce him to another. He has 
ever been strong and hale. He has never had an 
illness. His family is long-lived, and he reckons 
he has a long time before him. His friends die 
before him, and he feels rather contempt at their 
nothingness, than sorrow at their departure. He 
has just married a daughter, and established a son 


in life, and he thinks of retiring from his labours, 
except that he is at a loss to know how he shall 
employ himself when he is out of them ; he cannot 
get himself to dwell upon the thought of what and 
where he will be, when life is over, or, if he begins 
to muse awhile over himself and his prospects, 
then he is sure of one thing, that the Creator is 
absolute and mere benevolence, and he is indig- 
nant and impatient when he hears eternal pu- 
nishment spoken of. And so he fares, whether 
for a long time or a short ; but, whatever the 
period, it must have an end, and at last the 
end comes. Time has gone forward noise- 
lessly, and comes upon him like a thief in the 
night ; at length the hour of doom strikes, and he 
is taken away. 

Perhaps, however, he was a Catholic, and then 
the very mercies of God have been perverted by 
him to his ruin. He has rested on the Sacra- 
ments, without caring to have the proper disposi- 
tions for attending them. A.t one time he had 
lived in neglect of religion altogether ; but there 
was a date when he felt a wish to set himself 
right with his Maker ; so he began, and has 
continued ever since, to go to Confession and 
Communion at convenient intervals. He comes 
again and again to the Priest ; he goes through 
his sins ; the Priest is obliged to take his account 
of them, which is a very defective account, and 

n.J Am) WARNINGS. 43 

sees no reason for not giving him absolution. He 
is absolved, as far as words can absolve him ; he 
comes again to the Priest when the season comes 
round ; again he confesses, and again he has the 
form pronounced over him. He falls sick, he 
receives the last Sacraments : he receives the last 
rites of the Church, and he is lost. He is lost, 
because he has never really turned his heart to 
God ; or, if he had some poor measure of contri- 
tion for a while, it did not last beyond his first or 
second confession. He soon taught himself to 
come to the Sacraments without any contrition 
at all ; he deceived himself, and left out his 
principal and most important sins. Somehow he 
deceived himself into the notion that they w^ere 
not sins, or not mortal sins ; for some reason or 
other he was silent, and his confession became as 
defective as his contrition. Yet this scanty 
show of religion was sufficient to soothe and 
stupify his conscience : so he went on year after 
year, never making a good confession, communi- 
cating in mortal sin, till he fell ill ; and then, I 
say, the viaticum and holy oil were brought to 
him, and he committed sacrilege for his last time, — 
and so he went to his God. 

O what a moment for the poor soul, when it 
comes to itself, and finds itself suddenly before the 
judgment-seat of Christ ! O what a moment, 
when, breathless with the journey, and dizzy with 


the brightness, and overwhelmed with the strange- 
ness of what is happening to him, and unable to 
realize where he is, the sinner hears the voice of 
the accusing spirit bringing up all the sins of his 
past life, which he has forgotten, or which he has 
explained away, which he would not allow to be 
sins, though he suspected they were ; when he 
hears him detailing all the mercies of God which 
he has despised, all His warnings which he has 
set at nought, all His judgments which he has 
outlived ; when that evil one follows out into 
detail the growth and progress of a lost soul, — 
how it expanded and was confirmed in sin, — how 
it budded forth into leaves and flowers, grew into 
branches, and ripened into fruit, — till nothing was 
wanted for its full condemnation ! And, oh ! 
still more terrible, still more distracting, when the 
Judge speaks, and consigns it to the jailors, till it 
shall pay the endless debt which lies against it ! 
" Impossible, I a lost soul ! I separated from hope 
and from peace for ever ! It is not I of whom 
the Judge so spake ! There is a mistake some 
where ; Christ, Saviour, hold Thy hand, — one 
minute to explain it ! My -name is Demas : I am 
but Demas, not Judas, or Nicholas, or Alexander, 
or Philetus, or Diotrephes. What ? eternal pain ! 
for me ! impossible, it shall not be." And the 
poor soul struggles and wrestles in the grasp of 
the mighty demon wdiich has hold of it, and whose 


every touch is torment. " 0, atrocious !" it 
shrieks in agony, and in anger too, as if the very 
keenness of the affliction were a proof of its 
injustice. " A second ! and a third ! I can bear 
no more ! stop, horrible fiend, give over ; I am a 
man, and not such as thou ! I am not food for 
thee, or sport for thee ! I never was in hell as 
thou, I have not on me the smell of fire, nor the 
taint of the charnel-house ! I know what human 
feelings are ; I have been taught religion ; I 
have had a conscience ; I have a cultivated mind ; 
I am well versed in science and art ; I have been 
refined by literature ; I have had an eye for the 
beauties of nature ; I am a philosopher, or a poet, 
or a shrewd observer of men, or a hero, or a 
statesman, or an orator, or a man of wit and hu- 
mour. Nay, — I am a Catholic ; I am not an 
unregenerate Protestant ; I have received the 
grace of the Redeemer ; I have attended the 
Sacraments for years ; I have been a Catholic 
from a child ; I am a son of the Martyrs ; I died 
in communion with the Church : nothing, no- 
thing which I have ever been, which I have 
ever seen, bears any resemblance to thee, and 
to the flame and stench which exhale from thee ; 
so I defy thee, and abjure thee, O enemy of man !" 
Alas ! poor soul ; and whilst it thus fights with 
that destiny which it has brought upon itself, and 
with those companions whom it has chosen, the 


man's name perhaps is solemnly chanted forth, 
and his memory decently cherished among his 
friends on earth. His readiness in speech, his 
fertility in thought, his sagacity, or his wisdom, 
are not forgotten. Men talk of him from time to 
time ; they appeal to his authority ; they quote 
his words ; perhaps they even raise a monument 
to his name, or write his history. " So compre- 
hensive a mind ! such a power of throwing light 
on a perplexed subject, and bringing conflicting 
ideas or facts into harmony !" " Such a speech 
it was that he made on such and such an occa- 
sion ; I happened to be present, and never shall 
forget it !" or, "It was the saying of a very sen- 
sible man ;" or, " A great personage, whom some 
of us knew ;" or, " It was a rule with a very 
worthy and excellent friend of mine, now no 
more ;" or, " Never was his equal in society, so 
just in his remarks, so versatile, so unobtrusive ;" 
or, " I was fortunate to see him once when I was 
a boy ;" or, " So great a benefactor to his country 
and to his kind ;" " His discoveries so great ;" or, 
" His philosophy so profound." O vanity ! vanity 
of vanities, all is vanity ! What profiteth it ? 
What profiteth it ? His soul is in hell. O ye 
children of men, while thus ye speak, his soul is 
in the beginning of those torments in which his 
body will soon have part, and which will never die. 
Vanity of vanities ! misery of miseries ! they 


will not attend to us, they will not believe us. 
We are but a few in number, and they are many ; 
and the many will not give credit to the few. O 
misery of miseries ! Thousands are dying daily ; 
they are waking up into God's everlasting wrath ; 
they look back on the days of the flesh, and call 
them few and evil ; they despise and scorn the 
very reasonings which then they trusted, and 
which have been disproved by the event ; they 
curse the recklessness which made them put off 
repentance ; they have fallen under His j ustice, 
whose mercy they presumed upon ;— and their com- 
panions and friends are going on as they did, and 
are soon to join them. As the last generation pre- 
sumed, so does the present. The father would not 
believe that God could punish, and now the son 
will not believe ; the father was indignant when 
eternal pain was spoken of, and the son gnashes 
his teeth, and smiles contemptuously. The world 
spoke well of itself thirty years ago, and so will it 
thirty years to come. And thus it is that this 
vast flood of life is carried on from age to age ; 
myriads trifling with God's love, tempting His 
justice, and, like the herd of swine, falling head- 
long down the steep ! O mighty God ! O God 
of love ! it is too much ! it broke the heart of 
Thy sweet Son Jesus to see the misery of man 
spread out before His eyes. He died by it, as 
well as for it. And we, too, in our measure, our 


eyes ache, and our hearts sicken, and our heads 
reel, when we but feebly contemplate it. O most 
tender heart of Jesus, why wilt Thou not end, 
when wilt Thou end, this ever-growing load of sin 
and woe ? When wilt Thou chase away the devil 
into his own hell, and close the pit's mouth, that 
Thy chosen may rejoice in Thee, quitting the 
thought of those who perish in their wilfulness ? 
But, oh ! by those five dear Wounds in Hands, 
and Feet, and Side — perpetual founts of mercy, 
from which the fulness of the Eternal Trinity 
flows ever fresh, ever powerful, ever bountiful to 
all who seek Thee — if the world must still endure, 
at least gather Thou a larger and a larger harvest, 
an ampler proportion of souls out of it into Thy 
garner, that these latter times may, in sanctity, 
and glory, and the triumphs of Thy grace, exceed 
the former. 

" Deus misereatur nostri, et henedicat nobis ;" 
" God, have mercy on us, and bless us ; and 
cause His face to shine upon us, and have mercy 
on us ; that we may know Thy way upon earth, 
Thy salvation among all the nations. Let the 
people praise Thee, O God ; let all the people 
praise Thee. Let the nations be glad, and leap 
for joy; because Thou dost judge the people in 
equity, and dost direct the nations on the earth. 
God, even our God, bless us, may God bless us ; 
and may all the ends of the earth fear Him." 



When Christ, the great Prophet, the great 
Preacher, the great Missionary, came into the 
world, He came in a way the most holy, the most 
august, and the most glorious. Though He came 
in humiliation, though He came to suffer, though 
he was born in a stable, though He was laid in a 
manger, yet He issued from the womb of an Im- 
maculate Mother, and His infant form shone with 
heavenly light. Sanctity marked every linea- 
ment of His character and every circumstance of 
His mission. Gabriel announced His incarnation ; 
a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, a Virgin 
suckled Him ; His foster-father was the pure and 
saintly Joseph ; Angels proclaimed His birth ; 
a luminous star spread the news among the hea- 
then ; the austere Baptist went before His face ; 
and a crowd of shriven penitents, clad in white 



garments and radiant with grace, followed Him 
wherever He went. As the sun in heaven shines 
through the clouds, and is reflected in the land- 
scape, so the eternal Sun of justice, when He rose 
upon the earth, turned night into day, and in His 
brightness made all things bright. 

He came and He went ; and, seeing that He 
came to introduce a new and final dispensa- 
tion into the world. He left behind Him preachers, 
teachers, and missionaries, in His stead. Well 
then, my brethren, you will say, since on His 
coming all about Him was so glorious, such as He 
was, such must His servants be, such His repre- 
sentatives, His ministers, in His absence ; as He 
was without sin, they too must be without sin ; 
as He was the Son of God, they must surely be 
Angels. Angels, you will say, must be appointed 
to this high office ; Angels alone are fit to preach 
the birth, the suiferings, the death of God. They 
might indeed have to hide their brightness, as He 
before them, their Lord and Master, had put on a 
disguise ; they might come, as they came under 
the Old Covenant, in the garb of men ; but still, 
men they could not be, if they were to be 
preachers of the . everlasting Gospel, and dispen- 
sers of its divine mysteries. If they were to 
sacrifice, as He had sacrificed ; to continue, 
repeat, apply, the very Sacrifice which He had 
offered ; to take into their hands that very Victim 


which was He Himself ; to bind and to loose, to 
bless and to ban, to receive the confessions of His 
people, and to give them absolution for their 
sins ; to teach them the way of truth, and to 
guide them along the way of peace ; who was 
sufficient for these things but an inhabitant of 
those blessed realms of which the Lord is the 
never-failing Light ? 

And yet, my brethren, so it is. He has sent 
forth, for the ministry of reconciliation, not 
Angels, but men ; He has sent forth your 
brethren to you, not beings of some unknown 
nature and some strange blood, but of your own 
bone and your own flesh, to preach to you. " Ye 
men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into 
heaven ?" Here is the royal style and tone in 
which Angels speak to men, even though these 
men be Apostles ; it is the tone of those who, having 
never sinned, speak from their lofty eminence to 
those who have. But such is not the tone of 
those whom Christ has sent ; for it is your bre- 
thren whom He has appointed, and none else, — 
sons of Adam, sons of your nature, the same by 
nature, differing only in grace, — men, like you, ex- 
posed to temptations, to the same temptations, to the 
same warfare within and without ; with the same 
three deadly enemies — the world, the flesh, and the 
devil ; with the same human, the same wayward 
heart : differing only as the power of God has 


changed and rules it. So it is ; we are not 
Angels from Heaven that speak to you, but men, 
whom grace, and grace alone, has made to differ 
from you. Listen to the Apostle : — When the 
barbarous Lycaonians, seeing his miracle, would 
have sacrificed to him and St. Barnabas, as to 
gods, he rushed in among them, crying out, " O 
men, why do ye this ? we also are mortals, men 
like unto you ;" or, as the words may be more for- 
cibly interpreted by the Greek, " We are of like 
passions with you." And again to the Corinthians 
he writes, " We preach not ourselves, but Jesus 
Christ our Lord ; and ourselves your servants 
through Jesus. God, who commanded the light 
to shine out of darkness, He hath shined in our 
hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the 
glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus : but 
we hold this treasure in earthen vessels." And 
further, he says of himself most wonder- 
fully, that, " lest he should be exalted by the 
greatness of the revelations, there was given him 
an angel of Satan in the flesh to buffet him." 
Such are your Ministers, your Preachers, your 
Priests, O my brethren ; not Angels, not Saints, not 
sinless, but those who would have lived and died in 
sin except for God's grace, and who, though through 
God's mercy they be in training for the fellowship 
of Saints hereafter, yet at present are in the midst 
of infirmity and temptation, and have no hope, 


except from the unmerited grace of God, of per- 
severing unto the end. 

What a strange, what a striking anomaly is 
this ! All is perfect, all is heavenly, all is glorious, 
in the dispensation which Christ has vouchsafed 
us, except the persons of His Ministers. He 
dwells on our altars Himself, the Most Holy, the 
Most High, in light inaccessible, and Angels fall 
down before Him there ; and out of visible sub- 
stances and forms He chooses what is choicest to 
represent and to hold Him. The finest wheat 
flour, and the purest wine, are taken as His out- 
ward symbols : the most sacred and majestic 
words minister to the sacrificial rite ; altar and 
sanctuary are adorned decently or splendidly, as 
our means allow ; and the Priests perform their 
office in befitting vestments, lifting up chaste 
hearts and holy hands ; yet those very Priests, so 
set apart, so consecrated, they, with their girdle of 
celibacy and their maniple of sorrow, are sons of 
Adam, sons of sinners, of a fallen nature, which 
they have not put off, though it be renewed through 
grace. So that it is almost the definition of a 
Priest that he has sins of his own to offer for. 
" Every high priest," says the Apostle, " taken 
from among men, is appointed for men, in the 
things that appertain unto God, that he may offer 
gifts and sacrifices for sins ; who can condole with 
those who are in ignorance and error, because he 


also himself is compassed with infirmity. And 
therefore he ought, as for the people, so also for 
himself, to offer for sins." And hence in the 
Mass, when he offers up the Host before conse- 
cration, he says, Suscipe, Sancte Pater ^ Omni- 
potens cEterne Deus, " Accept, Holy Father, 
Almighty, Everlasting God, this Immaculate Host, 
which I, Thine unworthy servant, offer to Thee, 
my Living and True God, for mine innumerable 
sins, offences, and negligences, and for all who 
stand aromid, and for all faithful Christians, living 
and dead." 

Most strange is this in itself, my brethren, but 
not strange, when you consider it is the appoint- 
ment of an all-merciful God ; not strange in Him, 
because the Apostle gives the reason of it in the 
passage I have quoted. The Priests of the New 
Law are men, that they may " condole with those 
who are in ignorance and error, because they too 
are compassed with infirmity." Had Angels been 
your Priests, my brethren, they could not have 
condoled with you, sympathized with you, have 
had compassion on you, tenderly felt for you, and 
made allowances for you, as we can ; they could 
not have been your patterns and guides, and have 
led you on from your old selves into a new life 
as they can who come from the midst of you, who 
have been led on themselves as you are to be led, 
who know well your difficulties, who have had ex- 


perience, at least of your temptations, who know 
the strength of the flesh and the wiles of the 
devil, even though they have baffled them, who 
are already disposed to take your part, and be in- 
dulgent towards you, and can advise you most 
practically, and warn you most seasonably and 
prudently. Therefore did He send you men to 
be the ministers of reconciliation and intercession ; 
as He Himself, though He could not sin, yet by 
becoming man, took on Him, as far as was possible 
to God, man's burden of infirmity and trial in His 
own person. He could not be a sinner, but 
He could be a man, and He took to Himself a 
man's heart that we might intrust our hearts to 
Him, and " was tempted in all things, like as we 
are, yet without sin." 

Ponder this truth well, my brethren, and let it 
be your comfort. Among the Preachers, among 
the Priests of the Gospel, there have been 
Apostles, there have been Martyrs, there have 
been Doctors ; — Saints in plenty among them ; 
yet out of them all, high as has been their sanctity, 
varied their graces, awful their gifts, there has not 
been one who did not begin with the old Adam ; 
not one of them who was not hewn out of the 
same rock as the most obdurate of reprobates ; 
not one of them who was not fashioned unto 
honour out of the same clay which has been the 
material of the most polluted and vile of sinners ; 


not one who was not by nature brother of those 
poor souls who have now commenced an eternal 
fellowship with the devil, and are burning in hell. 
Grace has vanquished nature ; that is the whole 
history of the Saints. Salutary thought for those 
who are tempted to pride themselves in what 
they do, and what they are ; wonderful news for 
those who sorrowfully recognize in their hearts the 
vast difference that exists between them and the 
Saints ; and joyful news, when men hate sin, and 
wish to escape from its miserable yoke, yet are 
tempted to think it impossible ! 

Come, my brethren, let us look at this truth 
more narrowly, and lay it to heart. First con- 
sider, that, since Adam fell, none of his seed but 
has been conceived in sin ; none, save one. One 
exception there has been, — who is that one ? not 
our Lord Jesus, for He was not conceived of man, 
but of the Holy Ghost ; not our Lord, but T mean 
His Virgin Mother, who, though conceived and 
born of human parents, as others,yet was rescuedby 
anticipation from the common condition of man- 
kind, and never was partaker in fact of Adam's 
transgression. She was conceived in the way of 
nature, she was conceived as others are ; but 
grace interfered and was beforehand with sin ; 
grace filled her soul from the first moment of her 
existence, so that the evil one breathed not on 
her, nor stained the work of God. Tota pulchra 


es^ Maria ; et macula originalis non est in te. 
" Thou art all fair, O Mary, and the stain original 
is not in thee," But putting aside the Most 
Blessed Mother of God, every one else, the most 
glorious Saint, and the most black and odious of 
sinners, I mean, the soul which, in the event, 
became the most glorious, and the soul which 
became the most devilish, were both bom in one 
and the same original sin, both were children of 
wrath, both were unable to attain heaven by their 
natural powers, both had the prospect of meriting 
for themselves hell. 

They were both bom in sin ; they both lay in ^ 
sin ; and the soul, which afterwards became a 
Saint, would have continued in sin, would have 
sinned wilfully, and would have been lost, but for 
the visitings of an unmerited supernatural influ- 
ence upon it, which did for it what it could not 
do for itself. The poor infant, destined to be an 
heir of glory, lay feeble, sickly, fretful, wayward, 
and miserable ; the child of sorrow ; without 
hope, and without heavenly aid. So it lay for 
many a long and weary day ere it was born ; and 
when at length it opened its eyes and saw the 
light, it shrunk back, and wept aloud that it had 
seen it. But God heard its cry from heaven in 
this valley of tears, and He began that course of 
mercies towards it which led it from earth to 
heaven. He sent His Priest to administer to it 

D 2 


the first sacrament, aod to baptize it with His 
grace. Then a great change took place in it, for, 
instead of its being any more the thrall of Satan, 
it forthwith became a child of God ; and had it 
died that minute, and before it came to the age 
of reason, it would have been carried to heaven 
without delay by Angels, and been admitted into 
the presence of God. 

But it did not die ; it came to the age of reason, 
and, O shall we dare to say, though in some 
blessed cases it may be said, shall we dare to say, 
that it did not misuse the great talent which had 
been given, profane the grace which dwelt in it, 
and fall into mortal sin ? In some instances, 
praised be God ! we dare affirm it ; such seems 
to have been the ease with my own dear Father, 
St. Philip, who surely kept his baptismal robe un- 
sullied from the day he was clad in it, never lost 
his state of grace, from the day he was put into 
it, and proceeded from strength to strength, and 
from merit to merit, and from glory to glory, 
through the whole course of his long life, till at 
the age of eighty he was summoned to his account, 
and went joyfully to meet it, and was carried 
across purgatory, without any scorching of its 
flames, straight to heaven. 

Such certainly have sometimes been the deal- 
ings of God's grace with the souls of His elect ; 
but more commonly, as if more intimately to 


associate them with their brethren, and to make 
the fulness of His favours to them a ground of 
hope and an encouragement to the penitent sinner, 
those who have ended in being miracles of sanctity, 
and heroes in the Church, have passed a time in 
wilful disobedience, have thrown themselves out 
of the light of God's countenance, have been led 
captive by this or that sin, by this or that religious 
error, till at length they were in various ways re- 
covered, slowly or suddenly, and regained the 
state of grace, or rather a much higher state, than 
that which they had forfeited. Such was the 
blessed Magdalen, who had lived a life of shame ; 
so much so, that even to be touched by her was, 
according to the religious judgment of the day, a 
pollution. Happy in this world's goods, young 
and passionate, she had given her heart to the 
creature, before the grace of God prevailed with 
her. Then she cut off her long hair, and put 
aside her gay apparel, and became so utterly what 
she had not been, that, had you known her before 
and after, you had said it was two persons you had 
seen, not one ; for there was no trace of the sin- 
ner in the penitent, except the affectionate heart, 
now set on heaven and Christ ; no trace besides, 
no memory of that glittering and seductive appari- 
tion, in the modest form, the serene countenance,, 
the composed gait, and the gentle voice of her 
who in the garden sought and found her Risen 


Saviour. Such too was he who from a pubhcan 
became an Apostle and an Evangehst ; one who 
for filthy lucre scrupled not to enter the service 
of the heathen Romans, and to oppress his own 
people. Nor were the rest of the Apostles made 
of better clay than the other sons of Adam ; they 
were by nature animal, carnal, ignorant ; left to 
themselves, they would, like the brutes, have 
grovelled on the earth, and gazed upon the earth, 
and fed on the earth, had not the grace of God 
taken possession of them, and set them on their 
feet, and raised their faces heavenward. And such 
was the learned Pharisee, who came to Jesus by 
night, well satisfied with his station, jealous of his 
reputation, confident in his reason ; but the time at 
length came, when, even though disciples fled, he 
remained to anoint the abandoned corpse of Him, 
whom, when living, he had been ashamed to own. 
You see it was the grace of God that triumphed 
in Magdalen, in Matthew, and in Nicodemus ; hea- 
venly grace came down upon corrupt nature ; it 
subdued impurity in the youthful woman, cove- 
tousnessin the publican, fear of man in the Pharisee. 
Let me speak of another celebrated conquest 
of God's grace in an after-age, and you will see 
how it pleases Him to make a Confessor, a Saint, 
a Doctor of His Church, out of sin and heresy 
both together. It was not enough that the Father 
of the Western Schools, the author of a thousand 


works, the triumphant controversiahst, the especial 
champion of grace, should have been once a poor 
slave of the flesh, but he was the victim of a per- 
verted intellect also. He, who of all others, was 
to extol the grace of God, was left more than 
others to experience the helplessness of nature. 
The great St. Augustine (I am not speaking of 
the holy missionary of the same name, who came 
to England and converted our pagan forefathers, 
and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury, 
but of the great African Bishop, two centu- 
ries before him) — Augustine, I say, not being in 
earnest about his soul, not asking himself the 
question, how was sin to be washed away, but 
rather being desirous, while youth and strength 
lasted, to enjoy the flesh and the world, ambitious 
and sensual, judged of truth and falsehood by his 
private judgment and his private fancy ; despised 
the Catholic Church because it spoke so much of 
faith and subjection, thought to make his own 
reason the measure of all things, and accordingly 
joined a far-spread sect, which affected to be philo- 
sophical and enlightened, to take large views of 
things, and to correct the vulgar, that is, the 
Catholic notions of God and Christ, of sin and 
of the way to heaven. In this sect of his he re- 
mained for some years ; yet what he was taught 
there did not satisfy him. It pleased him for a 
time, and then he found he had been eating for 


food what had no nourishment in it ; he became 
hungry and thirsty after something more substan- 
tial, he knew not what, he despised himself for 
being a slave to the flesh, and he found his reli- 
gion did not help him to overcome it ; he under- 
stood he had not gained the truth, and he cried 
out, " O, who will tell me where to seek it, and 
who will bring me into it ?" 

Why did he not join the Catholic Church at 
once ? I have told you why ; he saw that truth 
was no where else, but he was not sure it was 
there. He thought there was something mean, 
narrow, irrational, in her system of doctrine ; he 
lacked the gift of faith. Then a great conflict 
began within him, — the conflict of nature with 
grace ; of nature and her children, the flesh and 
false reason, against conscience and the pleadings 
of the Divine Spirit, leading him to better things. 
Though he was still in a state of perdition, yet 
God was visiting him, and giving him the first 
fruits of those influences which were in the event 
to bring him out of it. Time went on ; and 
looking at him, as his Guardian Angel might look 
at him, you would have said that, in spite of much 
perverseness, and many a successful struggle 
against his Almighty Adversary, in spite of his 
still being, as before, in a state of wrath, never- 
theless grace was making way in his soul, — he 
was advancing towards the Church. He did not 


know it himself, be could not recognize it himself ; 
but an eager interest in him, and then a joy, was 
springing up in heaven among the Angels of God. 
At last he came within the range of a great Saint 
in a foreign country ; and, though he pretended 
not to acknowledge him, his attention was arrested 
by him, and he could not help coming to sacred 
places to look at him again and again. He began 
to watch him and speculate about him, and won- 
dered with himself whether he was happy. He 
found himself frequently in Church, listening to 
the holy preacher, and he once asked his advice 
how to find what he was seeking. And now a 
final conflict came on him with the flesh : it was 
hard, very hard to part with the indulgences of 
years, it was hard to part and never to meet again. 
O, sin was so sweet, how could he bid it farewell ? 
how could he tear himself away from its embrace, 
and betake himself to that lonely and dreary way 
which led heavenwards ? but God's grace was 
sweeter far, and it convinced him while it won 
him ; it convinced his reason, and prevailed ; — 
and he who without it would have lived and died 
a child of Satan, became, under its wonder-working 
power, an oracle of sanctity and truth. 

And do you not think, my brethren, that he 
was better fitted than another to persuade his 
brethren as he had been persuaded, and to preach 
the holy doctrine which he had despised ? Not 


that sin is better than obedience, or the sinner 
than the just ; but that God in His mercy makes 
use of sin against itself, that He turns past sin 
into a present benefit, that, while He washes away 
its guilt, and subdues its power, He leaves it in 
the penitent in such sense as enables him, from 
his knowledge of its devices, to assault it more 
vigorously and strike at it more truly, when it meets 
him in other men ; that, while He, by His omnipo- 
tent grace, can make the soul as clean as if it had 
never sinned, He leaves it in possession of a ten- 
derness and compassion for other sinners, an ex- 
perience how to deal with them, greater than if 
it had never sinned ; and moreover that, in those 
rare and special instances, of one of which I have 
been speaking, He holds up to us, for our instruc- 
tion and our comfort, what He can do, even for 
the most guilty, if they sincerely come to Him for 
a pardon and a cure. There is no hmit to be put 
to the bounty and power of God's grace ; and to 
feel sorrow for our sins, and to supplicate His 
mercy, is a sort of present pledge to us in our 
hearts, that He will grant us the good gifts we are 
seeking. He can do what He will with the soul 
of man. He is infinitely more powerful than the 
foul spirit to whom the sinner has sold himself, 
and can cast him out. O my dear brethren, 
though your conscience witnesses against you. He 
can disburden it ; whether you have sinned less 


or whether you have sinned more, He can make 
you as clean in His sight and as acceptable to Him, 
as if you had never gone from Him. Gradually 
will He destroy your sinful habits, and at once will 
He restore you to His favour. Such is the power of 
the Sacrament of Penance, that, be your load of 
guilt heavier, or be it lighter, it removes it, whatever 
it is. It is as easy to Him to wash out the many 
sins as the few. Do you recollect in the Old 
Testament the history of the cure of Naaman, the 
Syrian, by the prophet Eliseus ? He had that 
dreadful incurable disease called the leprosy, 
which was a white crust upon the skin, making 
the whole person hideous, and typifying the hi- 
deousness of sin. The prophet bade him bathe in 
the river Jordan, and the disease disappeared ; 
" his flesh," says the inspired writer, was " restored 
to him as the flesh of a little child." Here then 
we have a representation not only of what sin is, 
but of what God's grace is. It can undo the past, 
it can realize the hopeless. No sinner, ever so 
odious, but may become a Saint ; no Saint, ever so 
exalted, but has been, or might have been, a 
sinner. Grace overcomes nature, and grace only 
overcomes it. Take that holy child, the blessed 
St. Agnes, who, at the age of thirteen, resolved to 
die rather than deny the faith, and stood enve- 
loped in an atmosphere of purity, and diff'used 
around her a heavenly influence, in the very home 


of evil spirits into which the heathen brought her ; 
or consider the angelical Aloysius, of whom it 
hardly is left upon record that he committed even 
a venial sin ; or St. Agatha, St. Juliana, St. Rose, 
St. Casimir, or St. Stanislas, to whom the very 
notion of any unbecoming imagination had been 
as death ; well, there is not one of these seraphic 
souls, but might have been a degraded, loathsome 
leper, except for God's grace, an outcast from 
his kind ; not one but might, or rather would, 
have lived the life of a brute creature, and died 
the death of a reprobate, and lain down in hell 
eternally in the devil's arms, had not God put a 
new heart and a new spirit within him, and made 
him what he could not make himself 

All good men are not Saints, my brethren — all 
converted souls do not become Saints. I will not 
promise, that, if you turn to God, you will reach 
that height of sanctity which the Saints have 
reached : — true ; still I am showing you that the 
Saints are by nature no better than you ; and so, 
much more, that the Priests, who have the charge of 
the faithful, whateverbe their sanctity, are by nature 
no better than those whom they have to convert, 
whom they have to reform. It is God's special 
mercy towards you that we by nature are no other 
than you ; it is His consideration and compassion 
for you, that He has made us, your brethren. His 
legates and ministers of reconciliation. 


This is what the world cannot understand ; not 
that it does not apprehend clearly enough that we 
are by nature of like passions with itself ; but what 
it is so blind, so narrow-minded as not to compre- 
hend, is, that, being so like itself by nature, we 
may be made so different by grace. Men of the 
world, my brethren, know the power of nature ; 
they know not, experience not, believe not the 
power of God's grace ; and since they are not 
themselves acquainted with any power that can 
overcome nature, they think that none exists, and 
therefore consistently, they believe that every 
one, Priest or not, remains to the end such as 
nature made him, and they will not believe it 
possible that any one can lead a supernatural life. 
Now, not Priest only, but every one who is in the 
grace of God, leads a supernatural life, more or 
less supernatural, according to his calling, and the 
measure of the gifts given him, and his faithful- 
ness to them. This they know not, and admit 
not ; and when they hear of the life which a 
Priest must lead by his profession from youth to 
age, they will not credit that he is what he pro- 
fesses to be. They know nothing of the protec- 
tion of God, the merits of Christ, the intercession 
of Mary ; of the virtue of recurring prayers, of 
frequent confession, of daily Masses; they are 
strangers to the transforming power of the Most 
Holy Sacrament, the Bread of Angels ; they do 


not contemplate the efficacy of salutary rules, of 
holy companions, of long-enduring habit, of ready 
spontaneous vigilance, of abhorrence of sin and 
indignation at the tempter, to secure the soul from 
evil. They only know that when the tempter 
once has actually penetrated into the heart, he is 
irresistible ; they only know that when the soul 
has exposed and surrendered itself to his malice, 
there is (so to speak) a necessity of sinning. 
They only know that when God has abandoned 
it, and good Angels are withdrawn, and all safe- 
guards, and protections, and preventives are ne- 
glected, that then (which is their case), when the 
victory is all but gained already, it is sure to be 
gained altogether. They themselves have ever, 
in their best estate, been all but beaten by the 
Evil One before they began to fight ; this is the 
only state they have experienced ; they know this, 
and they know nothing else. They have never 
stood on vantage ground ; they have never been 
within the walls of the strong city, about which 
the enemy prowls in vain, into which he cannot 
penetrate, and outside of which the faithful soul 
will be too wise to venture. They judge, I say, 
by their experience, and will not believe what 
they never knew. 

If there be those here present, my dear brethren, 
who will not believe that grace is effectual within 
the Church, because it does little outside of it, to 


them I do not speak: I speak to those who do not 
narrow their behef to their experience; I speak 
to those who admit that grace can make human 
nature what it is not ; and such persons, I think, 
will feel it, not a cause of jealousy and suspicion, 
but a great gain, a great mercy, that those are sent 
to preach to them, to receive their confessions, 
and to advise them, who can sympathize with 
their sins even though they have not known them. 
Not a temptation, my brethren, can befal you, but 
what befals all those who share your nature, 
though you may have yielded to it, and they may 
not have yielded. They can understand you, 
they can anticipate you, they can interpret you, 
though they have not kept pace with you in your 
course. They will be tender to you, they will 
" instruct you in the spirit of meekness" as the 
Apostle says, " considering themselves lest they 
also be tempted." Come then unto us, all ye 
that labour and are heavy laden, and ye shall find 
rest to your souls ; come unto us, who now stand 
to you in Christ's stead, and who speak in Christ's 
Name ; for we too, like you, have been saved by 
Christ's all-saving blood. We too, like you, should 
be lost sinners, unless Christ had had mercy on 
us, unless His grace had cleansed us, unless His 
Church had received us, unless His Saints had 
interceded for us. Be ye saved, as we have been 
saved ; " come, listen, all ye that fear God, and 


we will tell you what He hath done for our soul." 
Listen to our testimony ; behold our joy of heart, 
and increase it by partaking in it yourselves. 
Choose that good part which we have chosen ; 
join ye yourselves to our company ; it will never 
repent you, take our word for it, who have a right 
to speak, it will never repent you to have sought 
pardon and peace from the Catholic Church, 
which alone has grace, which alone has power, 
which alone has Saints ; it will never repent you, 
though you go through trouble, though you have 
to give up much for her sake. It will never repent 
you, to have passed from the shadows of sense 
and time, and the deceptions of human feeling 
and false reason, to the glorious liberty of the 
sons of God. 

And 0, my brethren, when you have taken the 
great step, and stand in your blessed lot, as sin- 
ners reconciled to the Father you had offended 
(for I will anticipate, what I surely trust will be 
fulfilled as regards many of you), O then forget 
not those who have been the ministers of your 
reconciliation ; and as they now pray you to make 
your peace with God, so do you, when reconciled, 
pray for them, that they may gain the great gift 
of perseverance, that they may continue to stand 
in the grace in which they trust they stand now, 
even till the hour of death, lest, perchance, after 
they have preached to others, they themselves 
become reprobate. 



We find two especial manifestations of divine 

grace in the hnman heart, whether we turn to 

Scripture for instances of it, or to the history of 

the Church ; whether we trace its influences in 

Saints, or in persons of holy and religious life ; 

and the two are even found among our Lord's 

Apostles, being represented by the two foremost 

of that favoured company, St. Peter and St. 

John. St. John is the Saint of purity, and St. 

Peter is the Saint of love. Not that love and 

purity can ever be separated ; not as if a Saint 

had not all virtues in him at once ; not as if St. 

Peter were not pure as well as loving, and St. 

John loving, for all he was so pure. The graces 

of the Spirit cannot be separated from each other; 

one implies the rest ; what is love but a delight 

in God, a devotion to Him, a surrender of the 


whole self to Him ? what is impurity, on the other 
hand, but the taking something of this world, 
something sinful, for the object of our affections 
instead of God ? what is it but a deliberate turn- 
ing away from the Creator to the creature, and 
seeking pleasure in the shadow of death, not in 
the all-blissful Presence of light and holiness ? 
The impure then do not love God ; and those 
who are without love of God cannot really be 
pure. Purity prepares the soul for love, and love 
confirms the soul in purity. The flame of love 
will not be bright unless the substance which 
feeds it be pure and unadulterate ; and the most 
dazzHng purity is but as iciness and desolation 
unless it draws its life from fervent love. 

Yet, certain as this is, it is certain also that the 
spiritual works of God show differently from each 
other to our eyes, and that they display, in their 
character and their history, some of them this vir- 
tue more than other virtues, and some that. In 
other words, it pleases the Giver of grace to endue 
His Saints specially with certain gifts, for His 
glory, which light up and beautify one particular 
portion or department of their souls, so as to cast 
their other excellences into the shade. And then 
this special grace becomes their characteristic, and 
we put it first in our thoughts of them, and con- 
sider what they have besides, as included in it, or 
dependent upon it, and speak of them as if they 


had not the rest, though we know they really have 
them ; and we give them some title or description 
taken from that particular grace which is so 
emphatically theirs. And in this way we may 
speak, as I intend to do in what I am going to say, 
of two chief classes of Saints, whose emblems are 
the lily and the rose, who are bright with angelic 
purity, or who burn with divine love. 

The two St. Johns are the great instances of 
the Angelic life. Whom, my brethren, can we 
conceive of such majestic and severe sanctity as 
the Holy Baptist? He had a privilege which 
reached near upon the prerogative of the Most 
Blessed Mother of God ; for, if she was conceived 
without sin, at least without sin he was born. 
She was all-pure, all-holy, and sin had no part in 
her ; but St. John was in the beginning of his 
existence a partaker of Adam's curse : he lay 
under God's wrath, deprived of that grace which 
Adam had received, and which is the life and 
strength of human nature. Yet as soon as Christ, his 
Lord and Saviour, came to him, and Mary saluted 
his own mother, Elizabeth, forthwith the grace of 
God was given to him, and the original guilt was 
wiped away from his soul. And therefore it is 
that we celebrate the nativity of St. John ; 
nothing unholy does the Church celebrate ; not 
St. Peter's, nor St. Paul's, nor St. Augustine's, 
nor St. Gregory's, nor St. Bernard's, nor St. 



Aloysius's ; nor the nativity of any other 
Saint, however glorious, because they were all 
born in sin. She celebrates their conversions, 
their prerogatives, their martyrdoms, their deaths, 
their translations, but not their births, because in 
no case was it holy. Three nativities alone does 
she commemorate, our Lord's, His Mother's, and 
lastly, St. John's. What a special gift was this, 
my brethren, separating the Baptist off, and dis- 
tinguishing him from all prophets and preachers, 
who ever lived, however holy, except perhaps the 
prophet Jeremias ! And such as was his com- 
mencement, was the course of his life. He was 
carried away by the Spirit into the desert, and 
there he lived on the simplest fare, in the rudest 
clothing, in the caves of wild beasts, apart from 
men, for thirty years, leading a life of mortification 
and of meditation, till he was called to preach 
penance, to proclaim the Christ, and to baptize 
Him ; and then having done his work, and hav- 
ing left no sin of his on record, he was laid aside 
as an instrument which had lost its use, and lan- 
guished in prison, till he was suddenly cut off by 
the sword of the executioner. Sanctity is the one 
idea of him impressed upon us from first to last ; 
amostmarvellous Saint, a hermit from his childhood, 
then a preacher to a fallen people, and then a 
Martyr. Surely such a life fulfils the expectation, 
which the voice of Mary raised concerning him 
before his birth. 


Yet still more beautiful, and almost as majestic, 
is the image of his namesake, that great Apostle, 
Evangelist, and Prophet of the Church, who came 
so early into our Lord's chosen company, and 
lived so long after all his fellows. We can con- 
template him in his youth and in his venerable 
age ; and on his whole life, from first to last, as 
his special gift, is marked purity. He is the 
virgin Apostle, who on that account was so dear 
to his Lord, " the disciple whom Jesus loved,'' 
who lay on His Bosom, who received His Mother 
from Him when upon the Cross; who had the 
vision of all the wonders which were to come to 
pass in the world to the end of time. " Greatly 
to be honoured," says the Church, " is blessed 
John, who on the Lord's Breast lay at supper, to 
whom a virgin did Christ on the Cross commit 
His Virgin Mother. He was chosen a virgin by 
the Lord, and was more beloved than the rest. 
The special prerogative of chastity had made him 
meet for his Lord's larger love, because, being 
chosen by Him a virgin, a virgin he remained unto 
the end." He it was who in his youth professed 
his readiness to drink Christ's chalice with Him, 
who wore away a long life as a desolate stranger 
in a foreign land, who was at length carried to 
Rome and plunged into the hot oil, and then was 
banished to a far island, till his days drew near 
their close. 


O how impossible it is worthily to conceive the 
sanctity of these two great servants of God, so 
difi'erent is their whole history, in their lives and 
in their deaths, yet agreeing together in their se- 
clusion from the world, in their tranquillity, and 
in their all but sinlessness ! Mortal sin had never 
touched them, and we may well believe that even 
from deliberate venial sin they were ever exempt ; 
nay, at particular seasons or on certain occasions 
they did not sin at all. The rebellion of the 
reason, the waywardness of the feelings, the dis- 
order of the thoughts, the fever of passion, the 
treachery of the senses, these evils did the all- 
powerful grace of God subdue in them. They 
lived in a world of their own, uniform, serene, 
abiding ; in visions of peace, in communion with 
Heaven, in anticipation of glory ; and, if they 
spoke to the world without, as preachers or as con- 
fessors, they spoke as from some sacred shrine, not 
mixing with men while they addressed them, as " a 
voice crying in the wilderness," or " in the Spirit 
on the Lord's Day." And therefore it is we 
speak of them rather as patterns of sanctity than 
of love, because love regards an external object, 
runs towards it and labours for it, whereas such 
as they came so close to the Object of their love, 
they were allowed so to receive Him into their 
breasts, and so to make themselves one with Him, 
that their hearts did not so much love heaven as 


were themselves a heaven, did not so much see 
Hght as were light, and they lived among men as 
those Angels in the old time, who came to the 
patriarchs and spake as though they were God, 
for God was in them, and spake by them. Thus 
these two were almost absorbed in the Godhead, 
living an angelical life, as far as man could lead 
one, so calm, so still, so raised above sorrow and 
fear, disappointment and regret, desire and aver- 
sion, as to be the most perfect images, that earth 
has seen, of the peace and immutability of God. 
Such too are the many virgin Saints whom his- 
tory records for our veneration, St. Joseph, the 
great St. Antony, St. Cecilia who was waited 
on by Angels, St. Nicolas of Bari, St. Peter 
Celestine, St. Rose of Viterbo, St. Catherine of 
Sienna, and a host of others, and above all, the 
Virgin of Virgins, and Queen of Virgins, the 
Blessed Mary, who, though replete and overflow- 
ing with the grace of love, yet for the very reason 
that she was the very " seat of wisdom," and the 
"ark of the covenant," is more commonly repre- 
sented under the emblem of the lily, than of the rose. 
But now, my brethren, let us turn to the other 
class of Saints. 1 have been speaking of those 
who in a wonderful, sometimes in a miraculous 
way, have been defended from sin, and conducted 
from strength to strength, from youth till death ; 
but now let us suppose that God has willed to 



shed the light and power of His Spirit upon those 
who have misused the talents, and quenched the 
grace already given them, and who therefore have 
a host of evils within them of which they are to 
be dispossessed, who are under the dominion of 
obstinate habits, indulged passions, false opinions ; 
who have served Satan, not as infants before their 
baptism, but with their will, with their reason, 
with their faculties responsible, and hearts alive 
and conscious. Is He to draw these elect souls 
to Him without themselves, or by means of them- 
selves ? Is He to change them at His word, as 
He created them, as He will make them die, as 
He will raise them from the grave, or is He to 
enter into their souls, to address Himself to them, 
to persuade them, and so to win them ? Doubt- 
less He might have been urgent with them, and 
masterful ; He might by a blessed violence have 
come upon them, and turned them into Saints ; 
He might have superseded any process of conver- 
sion, and out of the very stones have raised up 
children to Abraham. But He has willed other- 
wise ; else, why did He manifest Himself on 
earth ? Why did He surround Himself on His com- 
ing with so much that was touching and attractive 
and subduing? Why did He bid His angels 
proclaim that He was to be seen as a little infant, 
in a manger and in a Virgin's bosom, at Beth- 
lehem ? Why did He go about doing good ? 


Why did He die in public, before the world, with 
His mother and His beloved disciple by Him ? 
Why does He now tell us how He is exalted in 
Heaven with a host of glorified Saints, who are 
our intercessors, about His throne ? Why does 
He give us His own Mother Mary for our 
mother, the most perfect image after Himself of 
what is beautiful and tender, and gentle and 
soothing in human nature ? Why does He mani- 
fest Himself by an ineffable condescension on our 
Altars, still humbling Himself, though He reigns 
on high ? What does all this show, but that, 
when souls wander away from Him, He reclaims 
them by means of themselves, "by cords of Adam," 
or of human nature, as the prophet speaks, con- 
quering us indeed at His will, saving us in spite 
of ourselves, and yet by ourselves, so that the 
very reason and affections of the old Adam, which 
have been made " the instruments of iniquity unto 
sin," should, under the power of His grace, become 
" the instruments of justice unto God ?" 

Yes, doubtless He draws us " by cords of 
Adam," and what are those cords, but, as the 
prophet speaks in the same verse, " the cords," or 
" the twine of love ?" It is the manifestation of 
the glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ ; 
it is the view of the attributes and perfections of 
Almighty God ; it is the beauty of His sanctity, 
the sweetness of His mercy, the brightness of His 



Heaven, the majesty of His law, the harmony of 
His providences, the thrilling music of His voice, 
which is the antagonist of the flesh, and the soul's 
champion against the world and the devil. " Thou 
has seduced me, O Lord," says the prophet, " and 
I w^as seduced ; Thou art stronger than I, and 
hast prevailed ;" Thou hast thrown Thy net 
skilfully, and its subtle threads are entwined 
round each aifection of my heart, and its meshes 
have been a power of God, " bringing into cap- 
tivity the whole intellect to the service of Christ." 
If the world has its fascinations, so surely has the 
Altar of the living God ; if its pomps and vanities 
dazzle, so much more should the vision of Angels 
ascending and descending on the heavenly ladder ; 
if sight of earth intoxicate, and its music is a spell 
upon the soul, behold Mary pleads with us, over 
against them, with her chaste eyes, and offers the 
Eternal Child for our caress, while sounds of 
cherubim are heard all round singing from out the 
fulness of the Divine Glory. Has divine hope no 
emotion ? Has divine charity no transport ? 
"How dear are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts !" 
says the prophet ; "my soul doth lust, and doth 
faint for the courts of the Lord ; my heart and 
my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. Better 
is one day in Thy courts above a thousand : T 
have chosen to be an abject in the house of my 
God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of 


sinners." So is it, as a great Doctor and penitent 
has said, St. Augustine ; " It is not enough to be 
drawn by the will ; thou art also drawn by the 
sense of pleasure. What is it to be drawn by 
pleasure ? ' Delight thou in the Lord, and He 
will give Thee the petitions of thy heart.' There 
is a certain pleasure of heart, when that heavenly 
Bread is sweet to a man. Moreover, if the poet 
saith, ' Every one is drawn by his own pleasure,' 
not by necessity, but by pleasure ; not by obliga- 
tion, but by delight ; how much more boldly 
ought we to say, that man is drawn to Christ, 
when he is- dehghted with truth, delighted with 
bliss, delighted with justice, delighted with eternal 
life, all which is Christ ? Have the bodily senses 
their pleasures, and is the mind without its own ? 
If so, whence is it said, ' The sons of men shall 
hope under the covering of Thy wings ; they 
shall be intoxicate with the richness of Thy 
house, and with the torrent of Thy pleasure shalt 
Thou give them to drink : for with Thee is the 
well of life, and in Thy light we shall see light ?' 
' He, whom the Father draweth, cometh to Me,' " 
he continues ; " Whom hath the Father drawn ? 
him who said, ' Thou art Christ, the Son of the 
living God'. You present a green branch to the 
sheep, and you draw it forward ; fruits are offered 
to the child, and he is drawn ; in that he runs, he is 
drawn, he is drawn by loving, drawn without bo- 

E 2 


dily hurt, drawn by the bond of the heart. If then 
it be true that the sight of earthly dehght draws on 
the lover, doth not Christ too draw us when re- 
vealed by the Father ? For what doth the soul 
desire more strongly than Truth ?" 

Such are the means which God has provided 
for the creation of the Saint out of the sinner : 
He takes him as he is, and uses him against him- 
self : He turns his affections into another channel, 
and extinguishes a carnal love by infusing a 
heavenly charity. Not as if He used him as a 
mere irrational creature, who is impelled by 
instincts and governed by external .incitements 
without any will of his own, and to whom one 
pleasure is the same as another, the same in kind, 
though different in degree. I have already said, 
it is the very triumph of His grace, that He enters 
into the heart of man, and persuades it, and pre- 
vails with it, while He changes it. He violates in 
nothing that original constitution of mind which 
He gave to him : He treats him as man ; He 
leaves him the power of acting this way or 
that ; He appeals to all his powers and faculties, 
to his reason, to his prudence, to his moral sense, 
to his conscience : He rouses his fears as well as 
his love ; He enlightens him in the depravity of 
sin, as well as in the mercy of God ; but still, on 
the whole, the animating principle of the new life, 
by which it is both kindled and sustained, is the 


flame of charity. This only is strong enough to 
destroy the old Adam, to dissolve the tyranny of 
habits, to quench the fires of concupiscence, and 
to burn up the strongholds of pride. 

And hence it is that love is presented to us as 
the distinguishing grace of those who were sinners 
before they were Saints ; not that love is not the 
life of all Saints, of those who have never needed 
a conversion, of the Most Blessed Virgin, of the 
two St. Johns, and of those others, many in num- 
ber, who are "first-fruits unto God and the Lamb ;" 
but that, while in those who have never sinned it 
is so contemplative as almost to resolve itself into 
the sanctity of God Himself, in those, on the con- 
trary, in whom it dwells as a principle of recovery, 
it is so full of devotion, of zeal, of activity, and 
good works, that it gives a visible character to 
their history, and is ever associating itself with 
our thoughts of them. 

Such was the great Apostle, on whom the 
Church is built, and whom I contrasted, when I 
began, with his fellow^- Apostle St. John : whether 
we contemplate him after his first calling, or on 
his repentance, he, who denied his Lord, out of 
all the Apostles, is the most conspicuous for his 
love of Him. It was for this love of Christ, flow- 
ing on, as it did, from its impetuosity and exube- 
rance, into love of the brethren, that he was chosen 
to be the chief Pastor of the fold. " Simon, son 


of John, lovest thou Me more than these ?" was 
the trial put on him by his Lord ; and the reward 
was, " Feed My lambs, feed My sheep." Won- 
derful to say, the Apostle whom Jesus loved, was 
yet surpassed in love for Jesus by a brother Apos- 
tle, not virginal as he ; for it is not John of whom 
our Lord asked this question, and who was re- 
warded with this commission, but Peter. 

Look back at an earlier passage of the same 
narrative : there too the two Apostles are similarly 
contrasted in their respective characters ; for when 
they were in the boat, and their Lord spoke to 
them from the shore, and " they knew not that it 
was Jesus," first, "that disciple, whom Jesus loved, 
said to Peter, It is the Lord," for " the clean of 
heart shall see God ;" and then at once " Simon 
Peter," in the impetuosity of his love, "girt his 
tunic about him, and cast himself into the sea," 
to reach Him the quicker. St. John beholds, and 
St. Peter acts. 

Thus the very presence of Jesus kindled Peter's 
heart, and at once drew him unto Him ; also, on 
a former time, when he saw his Lord walking on 
the sea, his very first impulse was, as in the passage 
I have been speaking of, to leave the vessel and 
hasten to His side : " Lord, if it be Thou, bid me 
come to Thee upon the waters." And when he 
had been betrayed into his great sin, the very Eye 
of Jesus brought him to himself : " And the Lord 


turned and looted upon Peter ; and Peter remem- 
bered the word of the Lord, and he went out, and 
wept bitterly." Hence, on another occasion, when 
many of the disciples fell away, and " Jesus said 
to the twelve. Do ye too wish to go away ?" St. 
Peter answered, " Lord, to whom shall we go ? 
Thou hast the words of eternal life ; and we have 
believed and have known that Thou art Christ, 
the Son of God." 

Such, too, was that other great Apostle, who, in 
so many ways, is associated with St. Peter — the 
Doctor of the Gentiles. He indeed was converted 
miraculously, by our Lord's appearing to him, 
when he was on his way to carry death to the 
Christians of Damascus : but how does he speak? 
"Whether we are beside ourselves," he says, "it 
is to God ; or whether we be sober, it is for you: 
for the charity of Christ doth urge us. If, there- 
fore, any be a new creature in Christ, old things 
have passed away,behold, all things are made new." 
And so again : " With Christ am I nailed to the 
cross ; but I live, yet no longer I, but Christ liveth 
in me ; and, that I now live in the flesh, I live by 
the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and 
gave Himself for me." And again: "I am the 
least of the Apostles, who am not worthy to be 
called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church 
of God. But by the grace of God I am what I 
am ; and His grace in me hath not been void, but 


I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not 
I, but the grace of God with me." And once 
more : " Whether we live, unto the Lord we live ; 
whether we die, unto the Lord we die ; whether 
we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's." 
You see, my brethren, the character of St. Paul's 
love ; it was a love fervent, eager, energetic, active, 
full of great works, " strong as death," as the Wise 
Man says, a flame which " many waters could not 
quench, nor the streams drown," which lasted to 
the end, when he could say, " I have fought the 
good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept 
the faith ; henceforth is laid up for me the crown 
of justice, which the Lord will render to me at 
that day, the just Judge." 

And there is a third, my brethren, there is an 
illustrious third in Scripture, whom we must asso- 
ciate with these two great Apostles, when we 
speak of the saints of penance and love. Who 
is it but the loving Magdalen ? Who is it so fully 
instances what I am showing, as "the woman 
who was a sinner," who watered the Lord's feet 
with her tears, and dried them with her hair, and 
anointed them with precious ointment ? What a 
time for such an act ! She, who had come into 
the room as if for a festive purpose, to go about 
an act of penance ! It was a formal banquet, 
given by a rich Pharisee, to honour, yet to try, 
our Lord. Magdalen came, young and beautiful. 


and "rejoicing in her youth," "walking in the ways 
of her heart and the gaze of her eyes :" she came as 
if to honour that feast, as women were wont to 
honour such festive doings, with her sweet odours 
and cool unguents for the forehead and hair of the 
guests. And he, the proud Pharisee, suifered her 
to come, so that she touched not him ; let her come, 
as we might suffer inferior animals to enter our 
apartments, without caring for them; suffered her 
as a necessary embellishment of the entertainment, 
yet as having no soul, or as destined to perdition, 
but any how as nothing to him. He, proud being, 
and his brethren like him, might "compass sea 
and land to make one proselyte," but, as to looking 
into that proselyte's heart, pitying its sin, and trying 
to heal it, this did not enter into the circuit of his 
thoughts. No, he thought only of the necessities 
of his banquet, and he let her come to do her 
part, such as it was, careless what her life was, so 
that she did that part well, and confined herself 
to it. But, lo, a wondrous sight ! was it a sudden 
inspiration, or a mature resolve ? was it an act of 
the moment, or the result of a long conflict? — but 
behold, that poor, many-coloured, child of guilt 
approaches to crown with her sweet ointment the 
head of Him to whom the feast was given ; and 
see, she has stayed her hand. She has looked, 
and she discerns the Immaculate, the Virgin's 
Son, " the brightness of the Eternal Light, and 


the spotless mirror of God's majesty." She looks, 
and she recognizes the Ancient of Days, the Lord 
of life and death, her Judge ; and again she looks, 
and she sees in His face and in His mien a beauty, 
and a sweetness, awful, serene, majestic, more 
than that of the sons of men, which paled all the 
splendour of that festive room. Again she looks, 
timidly yet eagerly, and she discerns in His eye, 
and in His smile, the loving-kindness, the tender- 
ness, the compassion, the mercy of the Saviour of 
man. She looks at herself, and oh ! how vile, 
how hideous is she, who but now was so vain of 
her attractions ! — how withered is that comehness, 
of which the praises ran through the mouths of 
her admirers ! — how loathsome has become the 
breath, which hitherto she thought so fragrant, 
savouring only of those seven bad spirits which 
dwell within her ! And there she would have 
stayed, there she would have sunk on the earth, 
wrapped in her confusion and in her despair, had 
she not cast one glance again on that all-loving, 
all-forgiving Countenance. He is looking at her : 
it is the Shepherd looking at the \6st sheep, and 
the lost sheep surrenders herself to Him. He 
speaks not, but He eyes her ; and she draws nearer 
to Him. Rejoice, ye Angels, she draws near, 
seeing nothing but Him, and caring neither for the 
scorn of the proud, nor the jests of the profligate. 
She draws near, not knowing whether she shall be 


saved or not, not knowing whether she shall be 
received, or what will become of her ; this only 
knowing that He is the Fount of good and of 
truth, as of mercy, and to whom should she go, 
but to Him, who hath the words of eternal life ? 
" Destruction is thine own, O Israel ; in Me only 
is thy help. Eeturn unto Me, and I wnll not turn 
away My face from thee : for I. am holy, and will 
not be angry for ever." " Behold we come unto 
Thee ; for Thou art the Lord our God. Truly 
the hills are false, and the multitude of the moun- 
tains : truly the Lord our God is the salvation of 
Israel." Wonderful meeting between what was 
most base and what is most pure ! Those 
wanton hands, those polluted lips, have touched, 
have kissed the feet of the Eternal, and He shrank 
not from the homage. And as she hung over 
them, and as she moistened them from her full 
eyes, how did her love for One so great, yet so 
gentle, wax vehement within her, lighting up a 
flame which never was to die from that moment 
even for ever ! and what excess did it reach, when 
He recorded before all men her forgiveness, and 
the cause of it ! " Many sins are forgiven her, 
for she loved much ; but to whom less is forgiven, 
the same loveth less. And He said unto her, 
Thy sins are forgiven thee ; thy faith hath made 
thee safe, go in peace." 

Henceforth my brethren, love was to her, as to 


St. Augustine and to St. Ignatius Loyola after- 
wards, (great penitents in their own time,) as a 
wound in the soul, so full of desire as to become 
anguish. She could not live out of the presence 
of Him in whom her joy lay: her spirit languished 
after Him, when she saw Him not ; and waited 
on Him silently, reverently, wistfully, when she 
was in His blissful Presence. We read of her, on 
one occasion, sitting at His feet, and listening to 
His words ; and He testified to her that she had 
chosen that best part which should not be taken 
away from her. And, after His resurrection, she, 
by her perseverance, merited to see Him even 
before the Apostles. She would not leave the 
sepulchre, when Peter and John retired, but stood 
without weeping ; and when the Lord appeared 
to her, and held her eyes that she should not 
know Him, she said piteously to the supposed 
keeper of the garden, " Tell me where thou hast 
laid Him, and I will take Him away." And when 
at length He made Himself known to her, she 
turned herself, and was rushing to embrace His 
feet, as at the beginning, when, as if to prove the 
dutifulness of her love, He forbade her: " Touch 
Me not," He said, " for I have not yet ascended 
to My Father ; but go to My brethren, and say to 
them, I ascend to My Father and your Father, 
to My God and your God." And so she was 
left to long for the time when she should see Him, 


and hear His voice, and enjoy His smile, and be 
allowed to minister to Him, for ever in heaven. 

Such then is the second great class of Saints, 
as viewed in contrast with the first. Love is the 
life of both : but whik the love of the innocent 
is calm and serene, the love of the penitent is 
ardent and impetuous, commonly engaged in con- 
test with the world, and active in good works. 
And this is the love which you, my brethren, 
jnust have in your measure, if you would have 
a good hope of salvation. For you were once 
sinners ; either by open and avowed contempt of 
religion, or by secret transgression, or by careless- 
ness and coldness, or by some indulged bad habit, 
or by setting your heart on some object of this 
world, and doing your own will instead of God's, 
I think I may say, you have needed, or now need, 
a reconciliation to Him. You have needed, or 
you need, to be brought near to Him, and to have 
your sins washed away in His blood, and your 
pardon recorded in Heaven. And what will do 
this for you, but contrition? and what is contrition 
without love ? I do not say that you must have 
the love which Saints have, in order to your for- 
giveness, the love of St. Peter or of St. Mary 
Magdalen ; but still without your portion of that 
same heavenly grace, how can you be forgiven at 
all ? If you would do works meet for penance, 
they must proceed from a living flame of charity. 


If you would secure perseverance to the end, you 
must gain it by continual loving prayer to the 
Author and Finisher of faith and obedience. If 
you would have a good prospect of His acceptance 
of you in your last moments, still it is love alone 
which secures His love, and blots out sin. My 
brethren, at that awful hour you may be unable 
to obtain the last Sacraments ; death may come 
on you suddenly, or you may be at a distance from 
a Priest. You may be thrown on yourselves, 
simply on your own compunction of heart, your 
own repentance, your own resolutions of amend- 
ment. You may have been weeks and weeks at a 
distance from spiritual aid ; you may have to meet 
your God without the safeguard, the compensation, 
the mediation of any holy rite ; and oh! what will 
save you in such disadvantage, but the exercise of 
divine love " poured over your hearts by the Holy 
Ghost who is given to you?" At that hour nothing 
but a firm habit of charity, which has kept you from 
mortal sins, or a powerful act of charity which 
blots them out, will be any avail to you. Nothing 
but charity can enable you to live well or to die 
well. How can you bear to lie down at night, 
how can you bear to go a journey, how can you 
bear the presence of pestilence, or the attack of 
ever so slight an indisposition, if you are ill pro- 
vided in yourselves with love against that awful 
change, which will come on you some day, yet 


when and how you know not ? Alas! how will 
you present yourselves before the judgment-seat 
of Christ, with the imperfect mixed feelings which 
now satisfy you, w^ith a certain amount of faith, 
and trust, and fear of God's judgments, but with 
nothing of that real delight in Him, in His attri- 
butes, in His will, in His commandments, in His 
service, which Saints possess in such fulness, and 
which alone can give the soul a comfortable title 
to the merits of His death and passion ? 

How different is the feeling with which the 
loving soul, on its separation from the body, ap- 
proaches the judgment-seat of its Redeemer ! It 
knows how great a debt of punishment remains 
upon it, though it has for many years been recon- 
ciled to Him ; it knows that purgatory lies before 
it, and that the best it can reasonably hope for is 
to be sent there. But to see His face though for 
a moment ! to hear His voice, to hear Him speak, 
though it be to punish ! O Saviour of men, I come 
to Thee, though it be in order to be at once re- 
manded from Thee ; I come to Thee who art my 
Life and my All ; I come to Thee, on the thought 
of whom I have lived all my life long. To Thee 
I gave myself when first I had to take a part in 
the world ; I sought Thee for my chief good 
early, for early didst Thou teach me that good 
elsewhere there was none. Whom have I in 
heaven but Thee ? whom have I desired on 


earth, whom have I had on earth, but Thee ? 
whom shall I have amid the sharp flame but 
Thee? Yea, though I be now descending thither, 
into " a land desert, pathless, and without water," 
I will fear no ill, for Thou art with me. I have 
seen Thee this day face to face, and it sufficeth ; 
I have seen Thee, and that glance of Thine is 
sufficient for a century of sorrow, in the nether 
prison. I will live on that look of Thine, though 
I see Thee not, till I see Thee again, never to 
part from Thee. That eye, of Thine shall be 
sunshine and comfort to my weary, longing soul ; 
that voice of Thine shall be everlasting music in 
my ears. Nothing can harm me, nothing shall 
discompose me : I will bear the appointed years, 
till my end come, bravely and sweetly. I will 
raise my voice, and chant a perpetual Conjiteor 
to Thee and to Thy Saints in that dreary valley ; 
" to God omnipotent, and to Blessed Mary Ever 
Virgin," Thy Mother and mine, immaculate in her 
conception, " and to blessed Michael Archangel," 
created in his purity by the very hand of God, 
and " to Blessed John Baptist," sanctified even 
in his mother's womb ; and after these three, " to 
the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul," penitents, who 
compassionate the sinner from their experience of 
sin ; " to all Saints," whether they have lived in 
contemplation or in toil, during the days of their 
pilgrimage, will I address my supplication, begging 


them to " remember me, since it is well with them, 
and to do mercy by me, so as to make mention of 
me unto the King that He bring me out of that 
prison." And then at length " God shall wipe 
away every tear from my eyes, and death shall be 
no longer, nor mourning, nor crying, nor pain any 
more, for the former things are passed away." 



You know very well, my brethren, and there are 
few persons anywhere who deny it, that in the 
breast of every one there dwells a feeling or per- 
ception, which tells him the diiFerence between 
right and wrong, and is the standard by which to 
measure thoughts and actions. It is called con- 
science ; and even though it be not at all times 
powerful enough to rule us, still it is distinct and 
decisive enough to influence our views and form 
our judgments in the various matters which come 
before us. Yet even this office it cannot perform 
adequately without external assistance ; it needs 
to be regulated and sustained. Left to itself 
though it tells truly at first, it soon becomes 
wavering, ambiguous, and false ; it needs good 
teachers and good examples to keep it up to the 


mark and line of duty ; and the misery is, that 
these external helps, teachers, and examples are 
in many instances wanting. 

Nay, to the great multitude of men they are so 
far wanting, that conscience loses its way and 
directs the soul in its journey heavenward but in- 
directly and circuitously. Even in countries 
called Christian, the natural inward light grows 
dim, because the Light, which lightens every one 
born into the world, is removed out of sight. I 
say, it is a most miserable and frightful thought, 
that, in this country, among this people which 
boasts that it is so Christian and so enlightened, the 
sun in the heavens is so eclipsed that the mirror 
of conscience can catch and reflect few rays, and 
serves but poorly and scantily to preserve the 
foot from error. That inward light, given as it is 
by God, is powerless to illuminate the horizon, to 
mark out for us our direction, and to comfort us 
with the certainty that we are making for our 
Eternal Home. It was intended to set up within 
us a standard of right and of truth ; to tell us 
our duty on every emergency, to instruct us in 
detail what sin is, to judge between all things 
which come before us, to discriminate the precious 
from the vile, to hinder us from being seduced by 
what is pleasant and agreeable, and to dissipate 
the sophisms of our reason. But, alas ! what 
ideas of truth, what ideas of holiness, what ideas 


of heroism, what ideas of the good and great, 
have the multitude of men ? I am not asking 
whether they act up to any ideas, or are swayed 
by any ideas, of these high objects ; that is a 
further point ; I only ask, have they any ideas of 
them at all ? or, if they cannot altogether blot 
out from their souls their ideas of greatness and 
goodness, still, whether their mode of conceiving of 
them, and the things in which they embody them, 
be not such, that we may truly say of the bulk of 
mankind, that " the light that is in them is dark- 

Attend to me, my dear brethren, I am saying 
nothing very abstruse, nothing very difficult to 
understand, nothing unimportant ; but something 
intelhgible, undeniable, and of very general con- 
cern. You know there are persons who never 
see the light of day ; they live in pits and mines, 
and there they work, there they take their plea- 
sure, and there perhaps they die. Do you think 
they have any right idea, though they have eyes, 
of the sun's radiance, of the sun's warmth ? any 
idea of the beautiful arching heavens, the blue 
sky, the soft clouds, and the moon and stars by 
night ? any idea of the high mountain, and the 
green smiling earth ? O what an hour it is for 
him who is suddenly brought from such a pit or 
cave, from the dull red glow and the flickering 
glare of torches, and that monotony of artificial 


twilight, in which day and night are lost, is sud- 
denly, I say, brought thence, and for the first 
time sees the bright sun moving majestically from 
East to West, and witnesses the gradual graceful 
changes of the air and sky from morn till fragrant 
evening ! And oh ! what a sight for one bom 
bUnd to begin to see, — a sense altogether foreign 
to all his previous conceptions ! What a marvel- 
lous new state of being, which, though he ever 
had the senses of hearing and of touch, never had 
he been able, by the words of others, or any means 
of information he possessed, to bring home to him- 
self in the faintest measure ! Would he not find 
himself, as it is said, in a " new world ?" What 
a revolution would take place in his modes of 
thought, in his habits, in his ways, and in his 
doings hour by hour ! He would no longer direct 
himself with his hands and his hearing, he would 
no longer grope about ; he would see ; — he would 
at a glance take in ten thousand objects, and, what 
is more, their relations and their positions the one 
towards the other. He would know what was 
great and what was little, what was near, what 
was distant, what things converged together, and 
what things were ever separate, in a word he 
would see all things as a whole, and in subjection 
to himself as a centre. 

But further, he would gain knowledge of some- 
thing closer to himself and more personal, than all 


these various objects ; of something very diiFerent 
from the forms and groups in which light dwelt 
as in a tabernacle, and which excited his admira- 
tion and love. He would discover lying upon 
him, spreading over him, penetrating him, the fes- 
tering seeds of unhealthiness and disease in their 
primary and minutest forms. The air around us is 
charged with a subtle powder or dust, which falls 
down softly on every thing, silently sheds itself 
on every thing, soils and stains every thing, and, 
if suffered to remain undisturbed, induces sickness 
and engenders pestilence. It is like those ashes 
of the furnace, which Moses was instructed to 
take up and scatter in the face of heaven, that 
they might become ulcers and blisters upon the 
flesh of the Egyptians. This subtle plague is felt 
in its ultimate consequences by all, the blind as 
well as those who see ; but it is by the eyesight 
that we discern it in its origin and in its progress ; 
it is by the sun's light that we discern our own 
defilement, and the need we have of continual 
cleansing to rid ourselves of it. 

Now what is this dust and dirt, my brethren, 
but a figure of sin ? so subtle in its approach, so 
multitudinous in its array, so incessant in its soli- 
citations, so insignificant in its appearance, so 
odious, so poisonous in its effects. It falls on the 
soul gently and imperceptibly ; but it gradually 
breeds wounds and sores, and ends in everlasting 


death. And as we cannot see the atoms of dust 
that have settled on us without the hght, and as 
that same hght, which makes us to see them, 
teaches us withal, by their very contrast with it- 
self, their unseemliness and dishonour, so the light 
of the invisible world, the teaching and examples of 
revealed truth, bring home to us both the existence 
and also the deformity of sin, of which we should 
be unmindful or forgetful without them. And as 
there are men who live in caverns and mines, and 
never see the face of day, and do their work as 
they best can by torch-light, so there are multi- 
tudes, nay, whole races of men, who, though pos- 
sessed of eyes by nature, cannot use them duly, 
because they live in the spiritual pit, in the region 
of darkness, "in the land of wretchedness and 
gloom, where there is the shadow of death, and 
where order is not." 

There they are born, there they live, there they 
die ; and instead of the bright, broad, and all- 
revealing luminousness of the sun, they grope 
their way from place to place with torches, as 
best they may, or fix up lamps at certain points, 
and "■ walk in the light of their fire, and in the 
flames which they have kindled ;" because they 
have nothing clearer, nothing purer, to serve the 
needs of the day and the year. Light of some 
kind they must secure, and, when they can do no 
better, they make it for themselves. Man, a being 


endued with reason, cannot on that very account 
live altogether at random ; he is obhged in some 
sense to hve on principle, to live by rule, to pro- 
fess a view of life, to have an aim, to set up a 
standard, and to take to him such examples as 
seem to him to fulfil it. His reason does not 
make him independent, (as men sometimes speak,) 
it forces on him a dependency on principles and 
laws, in order to satisfy its own demands. He 
must, by the necessity of his nature, look up to 
something ; and he creates, if he cannot discover, 
an object for his veneration. He teaches him- 
self, or is taught by his neighbour, falsehoods, if 
he is not taught truth from above ; he makes to 
himself idols, if he knows not of the Eternal God 
and His Saints. Now of which of the two, think 
you, my brethren, are our own countrymen in pos- 
session ? have they possession of the true object 
of worship, or have they a false one ? have they 
created what is not, or discovered what is ? do 
they walk by the luminaries of heaven, or are 
they as those who are born and live in caverns, 
and who strike their light as best they may, by 
means of the stones and metals of the earth ? 

Look around, my brethren, and answer for 
yourselves. Contemplate the objects of this 
people's praise, survey their standards, ponder 
their ideas and judgments, and then tell me 
whether it is not most evident, from their very 


notion of the desirable and the excellent, that 
greatness, and goodness, and sanctity, and subli- 
mity, and truth are unknown to them ; and that they 
not only do not pursue, but do not even admire, 
those high attributes of the Divine Nature. This 
is what I am insisting on, not what they actually 
do or what they are, but what they revere, what 
they adore, what their gods are. Their god is 
manmion ; I do not mean to say that all seek to 
be wealthy, but that all bow down before wealth. 
Wealth is that to which the multitude of men 
pay an mstinctive homage. They measure happi- 
ness by wealth ; and by wealth they measure 
respectability. Numbers, I say, there are, who 
never dream that they shall ever be rich them- 
selves, but who still at the sight of wealth feel an 
involuntary reverence and awe, just as if a rich 
man must be a good man. They like to be noticed 
by some particular rich man ; they like on some 
occasion to have spoken with him ; they like to 
know those who know him, to be intimate with 
his dependants, to have entered liis house, nay, to 
know liim by sight. Not, I repeat, that it ever 
comes into their mind that the like wealth will one 
day be theirs ; not that they see the wealth, for 
the man who has it may dress, and live, and look 
like other men ; not that they expect to gain some 
benefit from it : no, theirs is a disinterested homage, 
it is a homage resulting from an honest, genuine. 


hearty admiration of wealth for its own sake, such as 
that pure love which holy men feel for the Maker 
of all ; it is a homage resulting from a profound 
faith in wealth, from the intimate sentiment of 
their hearts, that, however a man may look, — poor, 
mean, starved, decrepit, vulgar ; or again, though 
he may be ignorant, or diseased, or feeble-minded, 
though he have the character of being a tyrant 
or a profligate, — yet, if he be rich, he differs from 
all others ; if he be rich, he has a gift, a spell, an 
omnipotence, — that with wealth he may do all 

Wealth is one idol of the day, and notoriety is 
a second. I am not speaking, I repeat, of what 
men actually pursue, but of what they look up to, 
what they revere. Men may not have the oppor- 
tunity of pursuing what still they admire. Never 
could notoriety exist as it does now, in any former 
age of the world : now that the news of the hour 
from all parts of the world, private news as well 
as public, is brought day by day to every indi- 
vidual, as I may say, of the community, to the 
poorest artisan and the most secluded peasant, by 
processes so uniform, so unvarying, so sponta- 
neous, that they almost bear the semblance of a 
natural law. And hence notoriety, or the making 
a noise in the world, has come to be considered a 
great good in itself, and a ground of veneration. 
Time was when men could only make a display 


by means of expenditure ; and the world used to 
gaze with wonder on those who had large estab- 
lishments, many servants, many horses, richly- 
furnished houses, gardens, and parks : it does so 
still, but it has not often the opportunity of doing 
so : for such magnificence is the fortune of the 
few, and comparatively few are its witnesses. 
Notoriety, or, as it may be called, newspaper 
fame, is to the many what style and fashion, to 
use the language of the world, are to those who 
happen to be within their influence ; it becomes 
to them a sort of idol, worshipped for its own 
sake, and without any reference to the shape in 
which it comes before them. It may be an evil 
fame or a good fame ; it may be the notoriety of 
a great statesman, or of a great preacher, or of a 
great speculator, or of a great experimentalist, or 
of a great criminal ; of one who has laboured in 
the improvement of our schools, or hospitals, or 
prisons, or workhouses, or of one who has robbed 
his neighbour of his wife. It matters not ; so that 
a man is talked much of, and read much of, he is 
thought much of ; nay, let him even have died 
justly under the hands of the law, still he will be 
made a sort of martyr of. His clothes, his hand- 
writing, the circumstances of his guilt, the instru- 
ments of his deed of blood, will be shown about, 
gazed on, treasured up as so many relics ; for the 
question with men is, not whether he is great, or 



good, or wise, or holy, not whether he is base, and 
vile, and odious, but whether he is in the mouths 
of men, whether he has centred on himself the 
attention of many, whether he has done something 
out of the way, whether he has been (as it were) 
canonized in the publications of the hour. All 
men cannot be notorious ; the multitudes who 
thus honour notoriety, do not seek it themselves ; 
nor am I speaking of what men do, but how 
they judge ; yet instances do occur from time to 
time, of wretched men, so smitten with the passion 
for notoriety, as even to dare in fact some detestable 
and wanton act, not from love of it, not from 
liking or dislike of the person against whom it is 
directed, but simply in order thereby to gratify 
this impure desire of being talked about, and 
being gazed upon. " These are thy gods, O 
Israel !" Alas ! alas ! this great and noble peo- 
ple, born to aspire, born for reverence, behold 
them walking to and fro by the torch-light of the 
cavern, or pursuing the wild-fires of the marsh, 
not understanding themselves, their destinies, their 
defilements, their needs, because they have not 
the glorious luminaries of heaven to see, to con- 
sult, and to admire ! 

But oh ! what a change, my brethren, when 
the good hand of God brings them by some mar- 
vellous providence to the pit's mouth, and so out 
into the blessed light of day ! what a change for 


them when they first begin to see witli the eyes 
of the soul, with the intuition which grace gives, 
Jesus the Sun of Justice, and the heaven of Angels 
and Archangels in which He dwells ; and the 
bright Morning Star, which is the Blessed Mary ; 
and the continual floods of light falling and striking 
against the earth, and transformed, as they fall, 
into an infinity of hues, which are the Saints ; 
and the boundless sea, w^hich is the image of 
divine immensity ; and then again the calm, placid 
Moon by night, which images His Church ; and 
the silent stars, like good and holy men, travelling 
on in lonely pilgrimage to their eternal rest ! Such 
was the surprise, such the transport, which came 
upon the favoured disciples, whom, on one occa- 
sion, our Lord took up with Him to the top of 
Tabor. He left the sick w^orld, the tormented 
restless multitude, at its foot, and He took them 
up, and was transfigured before them. " His Face 
did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white 
as the light ;" and they lifted up their eyes, and 
saw on either side of Him a bright form ; these 
were two Saints of the elder covenant, Moses 
and Elias, who were conversing with Him. How 
truly was this a glimpse of Heaven ! the holy 
Apostles were introduced into a new range of 
ideas, into a new sphere of contemplation, till St. 
Peter, overcome by the vision, cried out, " Lord, 
it is good to be here ; and let us make three taber- 


nacles." He would have kept those heavenly 
glories always with him ; every thing on earth, 
the brightest, the fairest, the noblest, paled, and 
dwindled away, and turned to corruption before 
them ; its most substantial good was vanity, its 
richest gain was dross, its keenest joy a weariness, 
and its sin a loathsomeness and abomination. 
And such as this in its measure is the contrast, 
to which the awakened soul is witness, between 
the objects of its admiration and pursuit in its 
natural state, and those which burst upon it when 
it has entered into communion with the Church 
Invisible, when it has come " to mount Sion, and 
to the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jeru- 
salem, and to that multitude of many thousand 
Angels, and to the Church of the first-bom, who 
are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of 
all, and to the spirits of the just now perfected, 
and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Testa- 
ment." From that day it has begun a new life: 
I am not speaking of any moral conversion which 
takes place in it ; whether or not it is moved, (as 
surely we believe it will be,) to act upon the 
sights which it sees, still consider only what a 
change there will be in its views and estimation 
of things, directly that it has heard and has faith 
in the word of God, as soon as it understands that 
wealth, and notoriety, and influence, and high 
place are not the first of blessings and the real 


standard of good ; but that saintliness and all its 
attendants, — saintly purity, saintly poverty, heroic 
fortitude and patience, self-sacrifice for the sake 
of others, renouncement of the world, the favour 
of Heaven, the protection of Angels, the smile of 
the Blessed Virgin, the gifts of grace, the interpo- 
sitions of miracle, the intercommunion of merits, 
— that these are the high and precious things, the 
things to be looked up to, the things to be reve- 
rently spoken of Hence worldly-minded men, 
however rich, if they are Catholics, cannot, till 
they utterly lose their faith, be the same as those 
who are external to the Church ; they have an 
instinctive veneration for those who have the 
traces of heaven upon them, and they praise what 
they do not imitate. 

They have an idea before them which this 
Protestant nation has not ; they have the idea of 
a Saint ; they believe, they realize the existence 
of those rare servants of God, who rise up from 
time to time in the Cathohc Church like Angels 
in disguise, and shed around them a light, as they 
walk on their way heavenward. They may not 
in practice do what is right and good, but they 
know what is true ; they know what to think and 
how to judge. They have a standard for their 
principles of conduct, and it is the image, the pat- 
tern of Saints which forms it for them. A Saint 
is bom Uke another man ; by nature a child of 


wrath, and needing God's grace to regenerate him. 
He is baptized hke another, he hes helpless and 
senseless like another, and like another child he 
comes to years of reason. But soon his parents 
and their neighbours begin to say, " This is a 
strange child, he is unlike any other child ;" his 
brothers and his playmates feel an awe of him, 
they do not know why ; they both like him and 
disHke him, perhaps love him much in spite of 
his strangeness, perhaps respect him more than 
they love him. But if there were any holy Priest 
there, or others who had long served God in 
prayer and obedience, these would say, " This 
truly is a wonderful child ; this child bids fair to 
be a Saint." And so he grows up, whether at 
first he is duly prized by his parents or not ; for 
so it is, with all greatness, that, because it is great, 
it cannot be comprehended by ordinary minds at 
once ; but time, and distance, and contemplation 
are necessary for its being recognized by beholders, 
and, therefore, this special heir of glory of whom 
I am speaking, for a time at least, excites no very 
definite observation, unless indeed (as sometimes 
happens) anything of miracle occurs from time to 
time to mark him out. He has come to the age 
of reason, and, wonderful to say, he has never 
fallen away into sin. Other children begin to use 
the gift of reason by abusing it ; they understand 
what is right, only to go counter to it ; it is other- 


wise with him, — not that he does not sin in many 
things, when we place him in the awful ray of 
divine purity, but that he does not sin wilfully and 
grievously, — he is preserved from mortal sin, he 
is never separated from God by sin, nay, perhaps, 
he is betrayed only at intervals, or never at all, 
into any deliberate sin, be it ever so slight, and he 
is ever avoiding the occasions of sin and resisting 
temptation. He ever lives in the presence of God, 
and is thereby preserved from evil, for " the 
wicked one toucheth him not." Nor, again, as if 
in other and ordinary matters, he necessarily dif- 
fered from other boys ; he may be ignorant, 
thoughtless, improvident of the future, rash, im- 
petuous ; he is a child, and has the infirmities, 
failings, fears, and hopes of a child. He may be 
moved to anger, he may say a harsh word, he 
may offend his parents, he may be volatile and 
capricious, he may have no fixed view of things, 
such as a man has. This is not much to allow ; 
such things are accidents, and are compatible with 
the presence of a determinate influence of grace, 
uniting his heart to God. O that the multitude 
of men were as religious in their best seasons, as 
the Saints are in their worst ! though there have 
been Saints who seem to have been preserved 
even from the imperfections I have been mention- 
ing. There have been Saints whose reason the 
all-powerful grace of God seems wonderfully to 


have opened from the very time of their baptism, 
so that they have offered to their Lord and 
Saviour "a hving, holy, acceptable sacrifice," "a 
rational service," even while they have been 
infants. And, any how, whatever were the acts 
of infirmity and sin in the child I am imagining, 
still they were the exception in his day's course ; 
the course of each day was religious : while other 
children are light-minded, and cannot fix their 
thoughts in prayer, prayer and praise and medita- 
tion are his meat and drink, He frequents the 
Churches, and places himself before the Blessed 
Sacrament ; or he is found before some holy 
image ; or he sees visions of the Blessed Virgin, 
or the Saints to whom he is devoted. He lives in 
intimate converse with his guardian Angel, and 
he shrinks from the very shadow of profaneness 
or impurity. And thus he is a special witness of 
the world unseen, and he fulfils the vague ideas 
and the dreams of the supernatural, which one reads 
of Jn poems or romances, with which young people 
are so much taken, and after which they cannot 
help sighing, before the world corrupts them. 

He grows up, and he has just the same temp- 
tations as others, perhaps more violent ones. 
Men of this world, carnal men, unbelieving men, 
do not believe that the temptations which they 
themselves experience, and to which they yield, 
can be overcome. They reason themselves into 


the notion that to sin is their very nature, and, 
therefore, is no fault of theirs ; that is, they deny 
the existence of sin. And accordingly, when 
they read about the Saints or about holy men 
generally, they conclude either that these have 
not had the temptations which they experience 
themselves, or that they have not overcome them. 
They either consider such a one to be a hypocrite, 
who practises in private the sins which he de- 
nounces in public ; or, if they have decency 
enough to abstain from these calumnies, then they 
consider that he never felt the temptation, and 
they regard him as a cold and simple person, who 
has never outgrown his childhood, who has a con- 
tracted mind, who does not know the w^orld and 
life, who is despicable while he is w-ithout influ- 
ence, and dangerous and detestable from his very 
ignorance when he is in power. But no, my bre- 
thren ; read the lives of the Saints, you wdll see how 
false and narrow a view this is ; these men, who 
think, forsooth, they know the world so well, and 
the nature of man so deeply, they know nothing 
of one great far-spreading phenomenon in man, — 
and that is his nature under the operation of grace ; 
they know nothing of the second nature, of the 
supernatural gift, induced by the Almighty Spirit 
upon our first and fallen nature ; they have never 
met, they have never read of, and they have 
formed no conception of, a Saint. 


He has, I say, the same temptations as another ; 
perhaps greater, because he is to be tried as in a 
furnace, because he is to become rich in merits, 
because there is a bright crown reserved for him in 
Heaven ; still temptation he has, and he differs 
from others, not in being shielded from it, but in 
being armed against it. Grace overcomes nature ; 
it overcomes indeed in all who shall be saved ; 
none will see God's face hereafter who do not, 
while here, put away from them mortal sin of 
every kind ; but the Saints overcome with a de- 
termination and a vigour, a promptitude and a 
success, beyond any one else. You read, my 
brethren, in the lives of Saints, the wonderful 
account of their conflicts, and their triumphs over 
the enemy. They are, as I was saying, hke 
heroes of romance, so gracefully, so nobly, so 
royally do they bear themselves. Their actions 
are as beautiful as fiction, yet as real as fact. 
There was St. Benedict, who, when a boy, left 
Rome, and betook himself to the Apennines in the 
neighbourhood. Three years did he live in 
prayer, fasting, and solitude, while the Evil One 
assaulted him with temptation. One day, when 
it grew so fierce that he feared for his persever- 
ance, he suddenly flung himself, in his scanty 
hermit's garb, among the thorns and nettles near 
him, thus turning the current of his thoughts, and 
chastising the waywardness of the flesh, by sensible 


stings and smarts. There was St. Thomas, too, 
the Angelical Doctor, as he is called, as holy as he 
was profound, or rather the more profound in 
theological science, because he was so holy. 
" Even from a youth" he had " sought wisdom ; 
he had stretched out his hands on high, and 
directed his soul to her, and possessed his heart 
with her from the beginning !" and so when the 
minister of Satan came into his very room, and 
no other defence was at hand, he seized a burning 
brand from the hearth, and drove that wicked 
one, scared and baffled, out of his presence. And 
there was that poor youth in the early persecu- 
tions, whom the impious heathen bound down 
with cords, and then brought in upon him a vision 
of evil ; and he in his agony bit off his tongue, 
and spit it off into the face of the temptress, that so 
the intenseness of the pain might preserve him 
from the seduction. 

Such acts as these, my brethren, are an opening 
of the heavens, a sudden gleam of supernatural 
brightness across a dark sky. They enlarge the 
mind with ideas it had not before, and they show 
to the multitude what God can do, and what man 
can be. Though, doubtless, all Saints have not 
been such in youth ; there are those on the con- 
trary, who, not till after a youth of sin, have been 
brought by the sovereign grace of God to repent- 
ance, yet who, when once converted, differed in 


nothing from those who had ever served Him, not 
in greatness of gifts, not in aceeptableness, not 
in detachment from the world, or union with 
Christ, or exactness of obedience, — in nought 
save in the severity of their penance. Others 
have been called, not from vice and ungodliness, 
but from a life of mere ordinary blamelessness, or 
from a state of lukewarmness, or from thought- 
lessness, to heroic greatness ; and these have often 
given up lands, and property, and honours, and 
station, and repute, for Christ's sake. Kings 
have descended from their thrones, bishops have 
given up their rank and influence, the learned 
have given up the pride of intellect, to become 
poor monks, to live on coarse fare, to be clad in 
humble weeds, to rise and pray while others slept, 
to mortify the tongue with silence and the limbs 
with toil, and to avow an unconditional obedience 
to another. In early times were the Martyrs, 
many of them children and girls, who bore the 
most cruel, the most prolonged, the most diversi- 
fied tortures, rather than deny the faith of Christ. 
Then came the Missionaries among the heathen, 
who, for the love of souls, threw themselves into 
the midst of savages, risking and perhaps losing 
their Hves in the attempt to extend the empire of 
their Lord and Saviour, and who, whether living 
or dying, have by their lives or by their deaths 
succeeded in bringing over whole nations into the 


Church. Others have devoted themselves, in time 
of war or captivity, to the redemption of Chris- 
tian slaves from pagan or Mahometan masters or 
conquerors ; others to the care of the sick in 
pestilences, or in hospitals ; others to the instruc- 
tion of the poor ; others to the education of 
children ; others to incessant preaching and the 
duties of the confessional ; others to devout study 
and meditation ; others to a life of intercession 
and prayer. Very various are the Saints, their 
very variety is a token of God's workmanship ; 
but however various, and whatever was their 
special line of duty, they have been heroes in it ; 
they have attained such noble self-command, they 
have so crucified the flesh, they have so renounced 
the world ; they are so meek, so gentle, so tender- 
hearted, so merciful, so sweet, so cheerful, so full 
of prayer, so diligent, so forgetful of injuries ; 
they have sustained such great and continued 
pains, they have persevered in such vast labours, 
they have made such valiant confessions, they 
have wrought such abundant miracles, they have 
been blessed with such strange successes, that 
they have set up a standard before us of truth, of 
magnanimity, of holiness, of love. They are not 
always our examples, we are not always bound to 
follow them ; not more than we are bound to 
obey hterally some of our Lord's precepts, such 
as turning the cheek or giving away the coat ; 


not more than we can follow the course of the sun, 
moon, or stars in the heavens ; but though not 
always our examples, they are always our standard 
of right and good ; they are raised up to be monu- 
ments and lessons, they remind us of God, they 
introduce us into the unseen world, they teach us 
what Christ loves, they track out for us the way 
which leads heavenward. They are to us who 
see them, what wealth, notoriety, rank, and name 
are to the multitude of men who live in dark- 
ness, — objects of our veneration and of our 

O who can doubt between the two ? The 
national religion has many attractions : it leads to 
decency and order, propriety of conduct, justness 
of thought, beautiful domestic tastes ; but it does 
not lead the multitude upward, it does not deline- 
ate for them the Heavenly City. It is of the 
earth, and its teaching is of the earth. It uses 
religious words, of course, else it could not be 
called a religion ; but it does not impress on the 
imagination, it does not engrave upon the heart, 
it does not inflict upon the conscience, the super- 
natural ; it does not introduce into the popular 
mind any great ideas, such as are to be recognized 
by one and all, as common property, and first 
principles or dogmas from which to start, to be 
taken for granted on all hands, and handed down 
as images and specimens of eternal truth from age 


to age. It in no true sense teaches the Unseen ; 
and by consequence, sights of this world, material 
tangible objects, become the idols and the ruin of 
its children, of souls which were made for God 
and Heaven. It is powerless to resist the world 
and the world's teaching : it cannot supplant 
error by truth ; it follows when it should lead. 
There is but one real Antagonist of the world, 
and that is the faith of Catholics ; — Christ set 
that faith up, and it will do its work on earth, as 
it ever has done, till He comes again. 



I AM going to ask you a question, my dear bre- 
thren, so trite, and therefore so uninteresting at 
first sight, that you may wonder why I put it, and 
may object that it will be difficult to fix the mind 
on it, and may anticipate that nothing profitable 
can be made of it. It is this : — Why were you 
sent into the world ?" Yet, after all, it is per- 
haps a thought more obvious than it is common, 
more easy than it is familiar ; I mean, it ought to 
come into your minds, but it does not, and you 
never had more than a distant acquaintance with 
it, though that sort of acquaintance with it you 
have had for many years. Nay, once or twice, per- 
haps you have been thrown across the thought 
somewhat intimately, for a short season, but this 
was an accident which did not last. There are 
those who recollect the first time, as it would 

VI.] god's will the end of life. 121 

seem, when it came home to them. They were 
but httle children, and they were by themselves, 
and they spontaneously asked themselves, or 
rather God spake in them, " Why am I here ? 
how came I here ? who brought me here ? What 
am I to do here ?" Perhaps it was the-, first act 
of reason, the beginning of their real responsibility, 
the commencement of their trial ; perhaps from 
that day they may date their capacity, their awful 
power, of choosing between good and evil, and of 
committing mortal sin. And so, as life goes on, 
the thought comes vividly, from time to time, 
for a short season across the conscience ; whether 
in illness or in some anxiety, or some season of 
solitude, or on hearing some preacher, or reading 
some religious work. A vivid feeling comes over 
them of the vanity and unprofitableness of the 
world, and then the question recurs, " Why then 
am I sent into it ?" 

And a great contrast indeed does this vain, 
unprofitable, yet overbearing world, present with 
such a question as that. It seems out of place to 
ask such a question in so magnificent, so imposing 
a presence, as that of the great Babylon. The 
world professes to supply all that we need, as if 
we were sent into it for the sake of being sent, 
and for nothing beyond the sending. It is a great 
favour to have an introduction to this august 
world. This is to be our exposition, forsooth, of 


122 god's will the end of life. [DISC. 

the mysterj^ of life. Every man is doing his own 
will here, seeking his own pleasure, pursuing his 
own ends, and that is why he was brought into 
existence. Go abroad into the streets of the 
populous city, contemplate the continuous out- 
pouring there of human energy, and the countless 
varieties of human character, and be satisfied. 
The ways are thronged, carriage-way and pave- 
ment ; multitudes are hurrying to and fro, each 
on his own errand, or are loitering about from 
listlessness, or from want of work, or have come 
forth into the public concourse, to see and to be 
seen, for amusement, or for display, or on the 
excuse of business. The carriages of the wealthy 
mingle with the slow wains laden with provisions 
or merchandise, the productions of art or the de- 
mands of luxury. The streets are lined with 
shops, open and gay, inviting customers, and widen 
now and then into some spacious square or place, 
with lofty masses of brickwork or of stone, gleam- 
ing in the fitful sunbeam, and surrounded or 
fronted with what simulates a garden's foliage. 
Follow them in another direction, and you find 
the whole groundstead covered with large build- 
ings, planted thickly up and down, the homes 
of the mechanical arts. The air is filled, below, 
with a ceaseless, importunate, monotonous din, 
which penetrates even to your most innermost 
chamber, and rings in your ears, even when you 

vi.^ god's will the end of life. 123 

are not conscious of it ; and overhead, with a 
canopy of smoke, shrouding God's day from the 
realms of obstinate sullen toil. This is the end 
of man ! 

Or stay at home, and take up one of those 
daily prints, which are so true a picture of the 
world ; look down the columns of advertisements, 
and you will see the catalogue of pursuits, projects, 
aims, anxieties, amusements, indulgences which 
occupy the mind of man. He plays many parts : 
here he has goods to sell, there he wants employ- 
ment ; there again he seeks to borrow money, 
here he offers you houses, great seats or small 
tenements ; he has food for the million, and 
luxuries for the wealthy, and sovereign medicines 
for the credulous, and books, new and cheap, for 
the inquisitive. Pass on to the new^s of the day, 
and you will learn what great men are doing at 
home and abroad : you will read of wars and 
rumours of wars ; of debates in the Legislature ; 
of rising men, and old statesmen going off the 
scene ; of political contests in this city or that 
county ; of the collision of rival interests. You 
will read of the money market, and the provision 
market, and the markets for metals ; of the state 
of trade, the call for manufactures, news of ships 
arrived in port, of accidents at sea, of exports and 
imports, of gains and losses, of frauds and their 
detection. Go forward, and vou arrive at disco- 

124 god's will the end of life. [DISC. 

veries in art and science, discoveries (so called) 
in religion, the court and royalty, the entertain- 
ments of the great, places of amusement, strange 
trials, offences, accidents, escapes, exploits, ex- 
periments, contests, ventures. O this curious, 
restless, clamorous, panting, being, which we call 
life ! — and is there to be no end to all this ? Is 
there no object in it ? It never has an end, it is 
its own object ! 

And now, once more, my brethren, put aside 
what you see and what you read of the world, and 
try to penetrate into the hearts, and to reach the 
ideas and the feelings of those who constitute it ; 
look into them as closely as you can ; enter into 
their houses and private rooms ; strike at random 
through the streets and lanes : take as they come, 
palace and hovel, office or factory, and what will 
you find ? Listen to their words, witness, alas ! 
their works ; you will find in the main the same 
lawless thoughts, the same unrestrained desires, 
the same ungoverned passions, the same earthly 
opinions, the same wilful deeds, in high and low, 
learned and unlearned ; you will find them all to 
be living for the sake of living ; they one and all 
seem to tell you, " We are our own centre, our 
own end." Why are they toiling ? why are they 
scheming ? for what are they living ? We live to 
please ourselves ; life is worthless except we have 
our own way ; we are not sent here at all, but we 

VI.] god's will the end of life. 125 

find ourselves here, and we are but slaves unless 
we can think what we will, believe what we will, 
love what we will, hate what we will, do what we 
will. We detest interference on the part of God 
or man. We do not bargain to be rich or to be 
great ; but we do bargain, whether rich or poor, 
high or low, to live for ourselves, to live for the 
lust of the moment, or according to the doctrine 
of the hour, thinking of the future and the unseen 
just as much or as little as we please. 

O, my brethren, is it not a shocking thought, 
but who can deny its truth ? The multitude of 
men are living without any aim beyond this visible 
scene ; they may from time to time use religious 
words, or they may profess a communion or a wor- 
ship, as a matter of course, or of expedience, or of 
duty, but, if there was any sincerity in such pro- 
fession, the course of the world could not run as 
it does. What a contrast is all this to the end of 
life, as it is set before us in our most holy Faith ! 
If there was one among the sons of men, who 
might allowably have taken His pleasure, and 
have done His own will here below, surely it was 
He, who came down on earth from the bosom of 
the Father, and who was so pure and spotless in 
that human nature which He put on Him, that 
He could have no human purpose or aim incon- 
sistent with the will of His Father. Yet He, the 
Son of God, the Eternal Word, came, not to do 

126 god's will the end of life. [disc. 

His own will, but His who sent Him, as you 
know very well is told us again and again in 
Scripture. Thus the Prophet in the Psalter, 
speaking in His person, says, " Lo, I come to do 
Thy will, O God." And He says in the Prophet 
Isaias, " The Lord God hath opened Mine ear, 
and I do not resist ; I have not gone back." And 
in the Gospel, when He had come on earth, " My 
food is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and 
to finish His work." Hence, too, in His agony 
He cried out, "Not My will, but Thine, be done;" 
and St. Paul, in like manner, says, that " Christ 
pleased not Himself;" and elsewhere, that, 
" though He was God's Son, yet learned He obe- 
dience by the things which He suffered." Surely 
so it was ; as being indeed the Eternal Co-equal 
Son, His will was one and the same with the 
Father's will, and He had no submission of will 
to make ; but He chose to take on Him man's 
nature, and the will of that nature ; He chose to 
take on Him affections, feelings, and inclinations 
proper to man, a will innocent indeed and good, 
but still a man's will, distinct from God's will ; a 
will, which, had it acted simply according to what 
was pleasing to its nature, would, when pain and 
toil were to be endured, have held back from an 
active co-operation with the will of God. But, 
though He took on Himself the nature of man. He 
took not on Him that selfishness, with which fallen 

VI. J god's will the end of life. 127 

man wraps himself round, but in all things He 
devoted Himself as a ready sacrifice to His Fa- 
ther. He came on earth, not to take His plea- 
sure, not to follow His taste, not for the mere 
exercise of human affection, but simply to glorify 
His Father and to do His will. He came charged 
with a mission, deputed for a work ; He looked 
not to the right nor to the left, He thought not of 
Himself, He offered Himself up to God. 

Hence it is that He was carried in the womb 
of a poor woman ; who, before His birth, had two 
journeys to make, of love and of obedience, to 
the mountains and to Bethlehem. He was born 
in a stable, and laid in a manger. He was hur- 
ried off to Egypt to sojourn there ; then He lived 
till He was thirty years of age in a poor way, by a 
ro\igh trade, in a small house, in a despised town. 
Then, when He went out to preach. He had not 
where to lay His head ; He wandered up and 
down the country, as a stranger upon earth. He 
was driven out into the wilderness, and dwelt 
among the wild beasts. He endured heat and 
cold, hunger and weariness, reproach and calumny. 
His food was coarse bread, and fish from the lake, 
or depended on the hospitality of strangers. And 
as He had already left His Father's greatness on 
high, and had chosen an earthly home ; so again, 
at that Father's bidding, He gave up the sole 
solace given Him in this world, and denied Him- 

128 god's will the end of life. [DISC. 

self His Mother's presence. He parted with her 
who bore Him ; He endured to be strange to her ; 
He endured to call her coldly " woman," who was 
His own undefiled one, all beautiful, all gracious, 
the best creature of His hands, and the sweet 
nurse of His infancy. He put her aside, as Levi, 
His type, merited the sacred ministry, by saying 
to his parents and kinsmen, "I know you not." 
He exemplified in His own person the severe 
maxim, which He gave to His disciples, " He that 
loveth mother more than Me is not worthy of 
Me." In all these many ways He sacrificed 
every wish of His own ; that we might under- 
stand, that, if He, the Creator, came into His 
own world, not for His own pleasure, but to do 
His Father's will, we too have most surely some 
work to do, and have seriously to bethink our- 
selves what that work is. 

Yes, so it is ; realize it, my brethren ; — every 
one who breathes, high and low, educated and 
ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a 
mission, has a work. We are not sent into this 
world for nothing ; we are not born at random ; 
we are not here, that we may go to bed at night, 
and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat 
and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a 
mind, and reform when we are tired of sinning, 
rear a family and die. God sees every one of 
us ; He creates every soul, He lodges it in the 

VI.] god's will the end of life. 129 

body, one by one, for a purpose. He needs, He 
deigns to need, every one of us. He has an end 
for each of us ; we are all equal in His sight, and 
we are placed in our different ranks and stations, 
not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, 
but to labour in them for Him. As Christ has 
His work, we too have ours ; as He rejoiced to 
do His work, we must rejoice in ours also. 

St. Paul on one occasion speaks of the world 
as a scene in a theatre. Consider what is meant 
by this. You know, actors on a stage are on an 
equality with each other really, but for the occa- 
sion they assume a difference of character, some 
are high, some are low, some are merry, and some 
sad. Well, would it not be a simple absurdity in 
any actor to pride himself on his mock diadem, 
or his edgeless sword, instead of attending to his 
part ? what, if he did but gaze at himself and his 
dress ? what if he secreted, or turned to his own 
use, what was valuable in it ? Is it not his busi- 
ness, and nothing else, to act his part well ? com 
mon sense tells us so. Now we are all but actors 
in this world ; we are one and all equal, we shall 
be judged as equals as soon as life is over ; yet, 
equal and similar in ourselves, each has his special 
part at present, each has his work, each has his 
mission, — not to indulge his passions, not to make 
money, not to get a name in the world, not to 
save himself trouble, not to follow his bent, not 

G 2 

130 god's will the end of life. [DISC. 

to be selfish and self-willed, but to do what God 
puts on him to do. 

Look at that poor profligate in the Gospel, look 
at Dives ; do you think he understood that his 
wealth was to be spent, not on himself, but for 
the glory of God ? — yet for forgetting this, he 
Avas lost for ever and ever. I will tell you what 
he thought, and how he viewed things : — he was 
a young man, and had succeeded to a good estate, 
and he determined to enjoy himself It did not 
strike him that his M^ealth had any other use than 
that of enabling him to take his pleasure. Lazarus 
lay at his gate ; he might have relieved Lazarus ; 
that was God's will ; but he managed to put con- 
science aside, and he persuaded himself he should 
be a fool, if he did not make the most of this 
world, while he had the means. So he resolved 
to have his fill of pleasure ; and feasting was to 
his mind a principal part of it. " He fared sump- 
tuously every day ;" every thing belonging to 
him was in the best style, as men speak ; his 
house, his furniture, his plate of silver and gold, 
his attendants, his establishments. Every thing 
was for enjoyment, and for show too ; to attract 
the eyes of the world, and to gain the applause 
and admiration of his equals, who were the com- 
panions of his sins. These companions were 
doubtless such as became a person of such pre- 
tension ; they were fashionable men ; a collection 

VI.] god's will the end of life. 131 

of refined, high-bred, haughty men, eating, not 
gluttonously, but what was rare and costly ; deli- 
cate, exact, fastidious in their taste, from their 
very habits of indulgence ; not eating for the 
mere sake of eating, or drinking for the mere 
sake of drinking, but making a sort of science of 
their sensuality ; sensual, carnal, as flesh and 
blood can be, with eyes, ears, tongue, steeped in 
impurity, every thought, look, and sense, witness- 
ing or ministering to the evil one who ruled them ; 
yet, with exquisite correctness of idea and judg- 
ment, laying down rules for sinning; — heartless 
and selfish, high, punctilious, and disdainful in 
their outward deportment, and shrinking from 
Lazarus, who lay at the gate, as an eye-sore, who 
ought for the sake of decency to be put out of 
the way. Dives was one of them, and so he lived 
his short span, thinking of nothing, loving no- 
thing, but himself, till one day he got into a fatal 
quarrel with one of his godless associates, or he 
caught some bad illness ; and then he lay help- 
less on his bed of pain, cursing fortune and his 
physician, that he was no better, and impatient 
that he was thus kept from enjoying his youth, 
trying to fancy himself mending when he was 
getting worse, and disgusted at those who would 
not throw him some word of comfort in his sus- 
pense, and turning more resolutely from his Cre- 
ator in proportion to his suffering : — and then at 

132 god's will the end of life. [DISC. 

last his day came, and he died, and (O miserable!) 
was buried in hell. And so ended he and his 

This was the fate of your pattern and idol, O 
ye, if any of you be present, young men, who, 
though not possessed of wealth and rank, yet 
affect the fashions of those who have them. You, 
my brethren, have not been born splendidly or 
nobly ; you have not been brought up in the seats 
of liberal education ; you have no high connex- 
ions ; you have not learned the manners nor 
caught the tone of good society, you have no 
share of the largeness of mind, the candour, the 
romantic sense of honour, the correctness of taste, 
the consideration for others, and the gentleness 
wliich the world puts forth as its highest type of 
excellence ; you have not come near the courts or 
the mansions of the great ; yet you ape the sin of 
Dives, while you are strangers to his refinement. 
You think it the sign of a gentleman to set your- 
selves above religion, to criticize the rehgious and 
professors of religion, to look at Catholic and 
Methodist with impartial contempt, to gain a 
smattering of knowledge on a number of subjects, 
to dip into a number of frivolous publications, if 
they are popular, to have read the latest novel, to 
have heard the singer and seen the actor of the 
day, to be up to the news, to know the names, 
and, if so be, the persons of public men, to be 

VI.] god's will the end of life. 133 

able to bow to them, to walk up and down the 
street with your heads on high, and to stare at 
whatever meets you ; — and to say and do worse 
things, of which these outward extravagances are 
but the symbol. And this is what you conceive 
you have come upon earth for ! The Creator 
made you, it seems, O my children, for this work 
and office, to be a bad imitation of poHshed un- 
godliness, to be a piece of tawdry and faded 
finery, or a scent which has lost its freshness, and 
does but offend the sense ! O that you could see 
how absurd and base are such pretences in the 
eyes of any but yourselves ! No calHng of fife 
but is honourable ; no one is ridiculous who acts 
suitably to his caUing and estate ; no one, who has 
good sense and humifity, but may, in any station 
of life, be truly well-bred and refined ; but osten- 
tation, affectation, and ambitious efforts are, in 
every station of life, high or low, nothing but 
vulgarities. Put them aside, despise them your- 
selves, O my very dear sons, whom I love, and 
whom I would fain serve ; O that you could feel 
that you have souls ! O that you would have 
mercy on your souls ! O that, before it is too 
late, you would betake yourselves to Him who is 
the Source of all that is truly high and magnifi- 
cent and beautiful, all that is bright and pleasant, 
and secure what you ignorantly seek, in Him 
whom you so wilfully, so awfully despise ! 

134 god's will the end of life. [disc. 

He alone, the Son of God, " the brightness of 
the Eternal Light, and the spotless mirror of His 
Majesty," is the Source of all good and all happi- 
ness to rich and poor, high and low. If you were 
ever so high, you would need Him ; if you were 
ever so low, you could offend Him. The poor 
can offend Him ; the poor man can neglect his 
divinely appointed mission as well as the rich. 
Do not suppose, my brethren, that what I have 
said against the upper or middle class, does not 
also lie against you, provided you are poor. 
Though a man were as poor as Lazarus, he could 
be as guilty as Dives. If you are resolved to 
degrade yourselves to the brutes of the field, who 
have no reason and no conscience, you need not 
wealth or rank to enable you to do so. Brutes 
have no wealth ; they have no pride of hfe ; they 
have no purple and fine hnen, no splendid table, 
no retinue of servants, in order to be brutes. 
They are brutes by the law of their nature : they 
are the poorest among the poor ; there is not a va- 
grant and outcast who is so poor as they ; they 
differ from him, not in their possessions, but in 
their want of a soul, in that he has a mission and 
they have not, he can sin and they can not. O, 
my brethren, it stands to reason, a man may in- 
toxicate himself with a cheap draught, as well as 
with a costly one ; he may steal another's money for 
his appetites, if he does not waste his own upon 

VI.] god's will the end of life. 135 

them ; he may break through the natural and 
social laws which encircle him, and profane the 
sanctity of family duties, though he be, not a 
child of nobles, but a peasant or artisan, — nay, 
and perhaps he does so more frequently than they. 
This is not the poor's blessedness, that he has less 
temptations to self-indulgence, for he has as many, 
but that from his circumstances he receives the 
penances and corrections of self-indulgence. Po- 
verty is the mother of many pains and sorrows in 
their season, and these are God's messengers to 
lead the soul to repentance ; but, alas ! if the 
poor man indulges his passions, thinks little of 
religion, puts off repentance, refuses to make an 
effort, and dies without conversion, it matters 
I nothing that he was poor in this world, it matters 
I nothing that he was less daring than the rich, it 
matters not that he promised himself God's 
favour, that he sent for the Priest when death 
came, and received the last Sacraments ; Lazarus 
too, in that case, shall be buried with Dives in 
hell, and shall have had his consolation neither in 
this world nor in the world to come. 

My brethren, the simple question is, whatever a 
man's rank in life may be, does he in that rank 
perform the work which God has given him to 
do ? Now then, let me turn to others, of a very 
different description, and let me hear what they 
will say, when the question is asked them ; — why, 

136 god's will the end of life. [DISC- 

they will parry it thus : — " You give us no alterna- 
tive," they will say to me, " except that of being 
sinners and Saints. You put before us our Lord's 
pattern, and you spread before us the guilt and 
the ruin of the deliberate transgressor ; whereas 
we have no intention of going so far one way or 
the other ; we do not aim at being Saints, but we 
have no desire at all to be sinners. We neither 
intend to disobey God's will, nor to give up our 
own. Surely there is a middle way, and a safe 
one, in which God's will and our will may both be 
satisjSed. We mean to enjoy both this world and 
the next. We will guard against mortal sin ; we 
are not obliged to guard against venial ; indeed 
it would be endless to attempt it. None but 
Saints do so ; it is the work of a life ; we need 
have nothing else to do. We are not monks, we 
are in the world, we are in business, we are 
parents, we have families ; we must live for the 
day. It is a consolation to keep from mortal sin ; 
that we do, and it is enough for salvation. It is 
a great thing to keep in God's favour ; what 
indeed can we desire more ? We come at due 
times to the Sacraments ; this is our comfort and 
our stay ; did we die, we should die in grace, and 
escape the doom of the wicked. But if we once 
attempted to go further, where should we stop V 
how will you draw the line for us ? the line be- 
tween mortal and venial sin is very distinct ; we 

VI.] gob's will the end of lite. 137 

understand that ; but do you not see that, if we 
attended to our venial sins, there would be just 
as much reason to attend to one as to another ? 
If we began to repress our anger, why not also 
repress vain glory ? why not also guard against 
avarice ? why not also keep from falsehoods ? 
from gossipping,from idling, from excess in eating? 
And, after all, without venial sin we never can 
be, unless indeed we have the prerogative of 
the Mother of God, which it would be almost 
heresy to ascribe to any one but her. You are not 
asking us to be converted ; that we understand ; 
we are converted, we were converted a long 
time ago. You bid us aim at an indefinite vague 
something, which is neither perfection, nor yet sin, 
and which, without resulting in any tangible 
advantage, debars us from the pleasures, and 
embarrasses us in the duties, of this world." 

This is what you will say ; but your premisses, 
my brethren, are better than your reasoning, and 
your conclusions will not stand. You have a right 
view why God has sent you into the world, viz., 
in order that you may get to heaven ; it is quite 
true also that you would fare well indeed, if yoa 
found yourselves there, you could desire nothing 
better ; nor, it is true, can you live any time 
without venial sin. It is true also that you are 
not obliged to aim at being Saints ; it is no sin 
not to aim at perfection. So much is true and to 

IBs god's will the end op life. [DISC. 

the purpose ; but it does not follow from it that 
you, with such views and feelings as you have ex- 
pressed, are using sufficient exertions even for 
attaining to purgatory. Has your religion any 
difficulty in it, or is it in all respects easy to you ? 
are you simply taking your own pleasure in your 
mode of living, or do you find your pleasure in 
submitting yourself to God's pleasure ? In a 
word, is your religion a work ? for if be not, it is 
not religion at all. Here at once, before going 
into your argument, is a proof that it is an un- 
sound one, because it brings you to the con- 
clusion, that, whereas Christ came to do a work, 
and His Apostles, and all Saints, and all sinners, 
you, on the contrary, have no work to do, because, 
forsooth, you are neither a sinner nor a Saint ; or, 
if you once had a work, at least you have despatched 
it already, and you have nothing upon your hands. 
You have attained your salvation, it seems, before 
your time, and have nothing to occupy you, and are 
detained on earth too long. The work-days are 
over, and your perpetual holiday is begun. Did 
then God send you, above all other men, into the 
world to be idle in spiritual matters ? Is it your 
mission only to find pleasure in this world, in which 
you are but pilgrims and as sojourners ? Are 
you more than sons of Adam, who, by the sweat 
of their brow, are to eat bread till they return to 
the earth out of which they are taken ? Unless 

VI.] god's will the end of life. 139 

you have some work in hand, unless you are 
strugghng, unless you are fighting with yourselves, 
you are no follower of those who " through many 
tribulations entered into the kingdom of God." 
A fight is the very token of a Christian. He is a 
soldier of Christ ; high or low, he is this and 
nothing else. If you have triumphed over all 
mortal sin, as you seem to think, then you must 
attack your venial sins ; there is no help for it ; 
there is nothing else to do, if you would be a 
soldier of Jesus Christ. But, O simple souls ! to 
think you have gained any triumph at all ! No ; 
you cannot safely be at peace with any, even the 
least malignant, of the foes of God ; if you are at 
peace with venial sins, be certain that in their 
company and under their shadow mortal sins are 
lurking. Mortal sins are the children of venial, 
which, though they be not deadly themselves, yet 
are prolific of death. You may think that you 
have killed the giants who had possession of your 
hearts, and that you have nothing to fear, but may 
sit at rest under your vine and under your fig-tree ; 
but the giants will live again, they will rise from 
the dust, and, before you know where you are, 
you will be taken captive and slaughtered by the 
fierce, powerful, and eternal enemies of God. 

The end of a thing is the trial. It was our 
Lord's rejoicing in His last solemn hour, that He 
had done the work for which He was sent. " I 

140 god's will the end of life. [disc. 

have glorified Thee on earth," He says in His 
prayer, " I have finished the work which Thou 
gavest Me to do ; I have manifested Thy name 
to the men whom Thou hast given me out of the 
world." It was St. Paul's consolation also ; " I 
have fought the good fight, I have finished the 
course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is 
laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord 
shall render to me in that day, the just Judge." 
Alas ! alas ! how different will be our view of 
things when we come to die, or when we have 
passed into eternity, from the dreams and pre- 
tences with which we beguile ourselves now ! 
What wdll Babel do for us then ? Will it rescue 
our souls from the purgatory, or the hell, to which 
it sends them ? If we were created, it was that we 
might serve God ; if we have His gifts, it is that 
we may glorify Him ; if we have a conscience, it 
is that we may obey it ; if we have the prospect 
of heaven, it is that we may keep it before us ; 
if we have light, that we may follow it ; if we 
have grace, that we may save ourselves by means 
of it. Alas, alas, for those who die without ful- 
filling their mission ! who were called to be holy, 
and lived in sin ; who were called to worship 
Christ, and who plunged into this giddy and un- 
believing world ; who were called to fight, and 
who remained idle ; who were called to be Catholics, 
and who remained in the religion of their birth ! 


god's will the exd of life. 141 

Alas for those, who have had gifts and talents and 
have not used, or misused, or abused them ; who 
have had wealth, and have spent it on themselves ; 
who have had abilities, and have advocated what 
was sinful, or ridiculed what was true, or scattered 
doubts against what was sacred : who have had 
leisure, and have wasted it on wicked com- 
panions, or evil books, or foolish amusements ! 
Alas for those of whom the best that can be said 
is, that they are harmless and naturally blameless, 
while they never have attempted to cleanse their 
hearts or live in God's sight ! 

The world goes on from age to age, but the 
holy Angels and blessed Saints are always crying 
alas, alas, and woe, woe, over the loss of vocations, 
and the disappointment of hopes, and the scorn of 
God's love, and the ruin of souls. One generation 
succeeds another, and whenever they look down 
upon earth from their golden thrones, they see 
scarcely anything but a multitude of guardian 
spirits, downcast and sad, each following his own 
charge, in anxiety, or in terror, or in despair, vainly 
endeavouring to shield him from the enemy, and 
failing because he will not be shielded. Times 
come and go, and man will not believe, that that 
is to be which is not yet, or that what is now only 
continues for a season, and is not eternity. The 
end is the trial ; the world passes ; it is but a 
• pageant and a scene ; the lofty palace crumbles, 

142 god's will the end of life. [DISC. VI. 

the busy city is mute, the ships of Tarshish have 
sped away. On the heart and flesh death comes ; 
the veil is breaking. Departing soul, how hast 
thou used thy talents, thy opportunities, the light 
poured around thee, the warnings given thee, the 
grace inspired into thee ? O my Lord and 
Saviour, support me in that hour in the strong 
arms of Thy Sacraments, and by the fresh fra- 
grance of Thy consolations. Let the absolving 
words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and 
seal me, and Thy own Body be my food, and Thy 
Blood my sprinkHng ; and let my sweet Mother 
Mary breathe on me, and my Angel whisper 
peace to me, and my glorious Saints, and my own 
dear Father smile on me ; that in them all, and 
through them all, I may receive the gift of per- 
severance, and die, as I desire to live, in Thy 
faith, in Thy Church, in Thy service, and in Thy 



There is no truth, my brethren, which Holy 
Church is more earnest in impressing upon us 
than that our salvation from first to last is the 
gift of God. It is true indeed that we merit eter- 
nal life by our works of obedience ; but that those 
works are meritorious of such a reward, this takes 
place, not from their intrinsic worth, but from the 
free appointment and bountiful promise of God ; 
and that we are able to do them at all, is the 
simple result of His grace. That we are justified 
is of His grace ; that we have the dispositions for 
justification is of His grace ; that we are able to 
do good works when justified is of His grace ; and 
that we persevere in those good works is of His 
grace. Not only do we actually depend on His 
power from first to last, but our destinies depend 
on His sovereign pleasure and inscrutable counsel. 


He holds the arbitration of our future in His 
hands ; without an act of His will, independent 
of ours, we should not have been brought into 
the grace of the Catholic Church ; and without 
a further act of His will, though we are now 
members of it, we shall not be brought on to the 
glory of the kingdom of Heaven. Though a soul 
justified can merit eternal life, yet neither can it 
merit to be justified, nor can it merit to remain 
justified to the end ; not only is a state of grace 
the condition and the life of all merit, but grace 
brings us into that state of grace, and grace con- 
tinues us in it ; and thus, as I began by saying, 
our salvation from first to last is the gift of God. 

Precise and absolute as is the teaching of Holy 
Church concerning the sovereign grace of God, 
she is as clear and as earnest in teaching also that 
we are really free and responsible. Every one 
upon earth might, without any verbal evasion, be 
saved, as far as God's assistances are concerned. 
Every man born of Adam's seed, simply and truly, 
might save himself, if he would, and every man 
might will to save himself ; for grace is given to 
every one for this. How it is, however, that in 
spite of this real freedom of man's will, our sal- 
vation still depends so absolutely on God's good 
pleasure, is unrevealed ; divines have devised 
various modes of reconciling two truths which at 
first sight seem so contrary to each other ; and 


these explanations have severally been received 
by some theologians, and not received by others, 
and do not concern us now. How man is able 
fully and entirely to do his will, while God accom- 
plishes His own supreme will also, is hidden from 
us, as it is hidden from us how God created out 
of nothing, or how He foresees the future, or how 
His attribute of justice is compatible with His 
attribute of love. It is one of those "hidden things 
which belong unto the Lord our God ;" but "what 
are revealed," as the inspired writer goes on to 
say, " are for us and our children even for ever- 
lasting ;" and this is what is revealed, viz. : — on 
the one hand, that our salvation depends on our- 
selves, and on the other, that it depends on God. 
Did we not depend on ourselves, we should be- 
come careless and reckless, nothing we did or did 
not do having any bearing on our salvation ; did 
we not depend on God, we should be presump- 
tuous and self-sufficient. I began by telhng you, 
my brethren, and I shall proceed in what is to 
come, more distinctly to tell you, that you depend 
upon God ; but such admonitions necessarily 
imply your dependence upon yourselves also ; for, 
did not your salvation in some sufficient sense 
depend on yourselves, what would be the use 
of appealing to you not to forget your depen- 
dence on God ? It is, because you have so 
great a share in your own salvation, that it avails, 



that it is pertinent, to speak to you of God's 
part in it. 

He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning 
and the ending, as of all things, so of our salva- 
tion. We should have lived and died every one 
of us destitute of all saving knowledge and love 
of Him, but for a gift which we could not do 
anything ourselves to secure, had we lived ever so 
well, — but for His grace ; and now that we have 
known Him, and have been cleansed from our 
sins by Him, it is quite certain that we cannot do 
any thing, even with the help of grace, to pur- 
chase for ourselves perseverance in justice and 
sanctity, though we live ever so well. His grace 
begins the work. His grace also finishes it ; and 
now I am going to speak to you of His finishing 
it ; I mean of the necessity under which we lie 
of His finishing it ; else it will never be finished, 
or rather will be reversed ; I am going to speak 
to you of the gift of perseverance in grace, of its 
extreme preciousness, and of our utter hopelesS' 
ness, in spite of all that we are, without it. 

It is this gift which our Lord speaks of, when 
He prays His Father for His disciples, before He 
departs from them : " Holy Father, keep in Thy 
Name those whom Thou hast given Me ;....! 
ask not that Thou take them out of the world, 
but that Thou preserve them from evil." And 
St. Paul intends it when he declares to the Philip- 


pians that "He who had begun a good work" in 
His disciples, " would perfect it unto the day of 
Christ Jesus." St. Peter, too, when he says in 
like manner, that " God, who had called His 
brethren into His eternal glory, would perfect, 
confirm, and establish them." And so the Pro- 
phet in the Psalms prays that God would " perfect 
his walking in His paths, that his steps might not 
be moved ;" and the Prophet Jeremias declares 
in God's Name, " I will put My fear in their hearts, 
that they draw not back from Me." In these and 
many other. passages the blessing spoken of is the 
gift of perseverance, and now I will tell you more 
distinctly how and why it is necessary. 

This is what we find to be the case, not only 
in matters of religion, but of this world, viz., that, 
let a person do a thing ever so well, the chance 
is that he will not be able to do it a number of 
times running without a mistake. Let a person 
be ever so good an accountant, he will add up a 
sum wrongly now and then, though you could 
not guess beforehand when or why he was to fail. 
Let him get by heart a number of lines ever so 
perfectly, and say them accurately over, yet it 
does not follow that he will say them a dozen 
times and be accurate throughout. So it is with 
our religious duties ; we may be able to keep from 
every sin in particular, as the particular temptation 
comes, but this does not hinder its being certain 


that we shall not in fact keep from all sins, though 
that "all" is made up of those particular sins. 
This is how the greatest Saints come to commit 
venial or lesser sins, though they have grace suf- 
ficient to keep them from any sin whatever. It 
is the result of human frailty ; nothing could keep 
the Saints from such falls, light as they may be, 
but a special prerogative, and this, the Church 
teaches, has been granted to the Blessed Virgin, 
and apparently to her alone. Now these lesser 
or venial sins do not separate the soul from God, 
or forfeit its perseverance in grace; and they are 
permitted by the Giver of all grace for a good 
purpose, to humble us, and to give us an incentive 
to works of penance. No exemption then from 
these is given us, because it is not necessary in 
order to our perseverance, that we should be 
exempted: on the other hand, what is most neces- 
sary is, that we should be preserved from mortal 
sins, yet here too that very difficulty besets us in 
our warfare with them which meets us in the 
case of venial. Here too, though a man may have 
grace sufficient to keep him clear of all mortal 
sins whatever, taken one by one, still we may 
prophesy surely, that the hour will come, sooner 
or later, when he will neglect and baffle that 
grace, unless he has some further gift bestowed 
on him to guard him against himself He needs 
grace to use grace; he needs something over and 


above to secure his being faithful to what he 
has already. And he needs it imperatively; for, 
since even one mortal sin separates from God, 
he is in immediate risk of his salvation, if he has 
it not. This additional gift is called the gift of 
perseverance ; and it consists in an ever-watchful 
superintendence of us, on the part of our All- 
merciful Lord, removing temptations which He 
sees will be fatal to us, succouring us at those 
times when we are in particular peril, whether 
from our negligence or other cause, and ordering 
the course of our life so, that we may die at a 
time when He sees that we are in a state of grace. 
And, since it is so simply necessary for us, God 
grants it to us ; nay, did He not, no one could be 
saved. He grants it to us though He does not 
grant even to Saints the prerogative of avoiding 
every venial sin ; He grants it, out of His bounty, 
to our prayers, though we cannot merit it by any 
thing we do or say to Him, even with the aid of 
His grace. 

What a lesson of humility and watchfulness 
have we in this doctrine as now explained! It is 
one ground of humiliation, that, do what w^e will, 
strive as we will, we cannot escape from lesser 
sins while we are on earth. Though the aids 
which God gives us are sufficient to enable us to 
live without sin, yet our infirmity of will and of 
attention is a match for them, and we do not do in 


fact that which we might do. And again, what is 
not only humbhng, but even frightful and appal- 
ling, we are in danger of mortal sin as well as in 
certainty of venial ; and the only reason why we 
are not in certainty of mortal is, that an extraor- 
dinary gift is given to those who supplicate for it, 
to secure them from mortal, though no such ex- 
traordinary gift is given to secure them from 
venial. In spite of the presence of grace in our 
souls, in spite of the actual assistances given us, 
we owe any hope we have of heaven, not to that 
inward grace sunply, nor to those assistances, but 
to a supplementary mercy which protects us 
against ourselves, rescues us from occasions of sin, 
strengthens us in our hour of danger, and ends our 
days at that very time, perhaps cuts short our life 
in order to secure a time, when no mortal sin has 
separated us from God. Nothing we are, nothing 
we do, is any guarantee to us that this supple- 
mentary mercy has been accorded to us ; we can- 
not know till the end ; all we know is, that God 
has helped us hitherto, and we trust He will help 
us still. But yet the experience of what He has 
already done is no promise that He will do more ; 
our present religiousness need not be the conse- 
quence of the gift of perseverance as bestowed 
upon us ; it may have been intended merely 
to prompt and enable us to pray earnestly and 
continually for that gift. There are men who, 


had they died at a particular time, would have 
died the death of Saints, and who lived to fall. 
They Uved on here to die eternally. O dreadful 
thought ! Never be you offended, my brethren, or 
overwhelmed, when you find that the good and 
gentle, or the zealous and useful, is cut down and 
taken off in the midst of his course : it is hard to 
bear, but who knows but he is taken away a facie 
malitice^ " from the presence of evil," from the 
evil to come ? " He was taken away," as the 
Wise Man says, " lest wickedness should alter his 
understanding, or deceit beguile his soul. For 
the bewitching of vanity obscureth good things, 
and the wandering of concupiscence overturneth 
the innocent mind. Being made perfect in a short 
space, he fulfilled a long time. For his soul 
pleased God ; therefore He hastened to bring him 
out of the midst of iniquities. But the people 
see this, and understand not, nor lay such things 
in their hearts ; that the grace of God and His 
mercy is with His Saints, and that He hath respect 
unto His chosen." 

Bad is it to bear, when such a one is taken 
away ; cruel to his friends, sad even to strangers, 
and a surprise to the world ; but O, how much 
better, how happy so to die, instead of being 
reserved to sin I You may wonder how sin was 
possible in him, my brethren ; he had so many 
graces, he had lived and matured in them so long ; 


he had overcome so many temptations. He had 
struck his roots deeply, and spread abroad his 
branches on high. One grace grew out of 
another ; and all things in him were double one 
against another. He seemed from the very com- 
pleteness of his sanctity, which encircled him on 
every side, to defy assault and to be proof against 
injury. He, if any one, could have said with 
the proud Church in the Apocalypse, " I am 
wealthy and enriched, and have need of nothing ;" 
that he had started well, seemed a reason why he 
should go on well ; strength would lead to 
strength, and merit to merit ; as a flame increases 
and sweeps along and round about, as soon as, 
and for the very reason that, it is once kindled, so 
he had on him the presage of greater and greater 
triumphs as time proceeded. He was fit to scale 
Heaven by an inherent power, which, though at first 
of grace, yet, when once given, became not of grace, 
but of claim for more grace, as by the action of a 
law, and the process of a series, in which grace 
and merit alternated, man meriting and meriting, 
and the God of grace being forced to give and 
give again, if He would be true to His promise. 
Thus we might look at him, and think we had 
already in our hands all the data of a great and 
glorious and infallible conclusion, and deny that a 
reverse or a fall was possible. My brethren, 
there was once an Eastern king, in his day the 


richest of men ; and a Grecian sage came to visit 
him, and, having see all his glory and his majesty, 
was pressed by this poor child of vanity to say 
whether he was not the happiest of men. To 
whom the wise man did but reply, that he should 
wait till he saw the end. So it is as regards spiritual 
wealth, because Almighty God, in spite of His 
ample promises, and His faithful performance 
of them, has not put out of His own hands the 
issues of life and death, and the end comes from 
Him as well as the beginning. When He has 
once given grace. He has not therefore simply 
made over to the creature his own salvation. 
The creature can merit such ; but as he could not 
merit the grace of conversion, neither can he 
merit the gift of perseverance. From first to last 
he is dependent on Him who made him ; he can- 
not be extortionate with Him, he cannot turn His 
bounty to the prejudice of the Bountiful ; he may 
not exalt himself, he dare not presume, but " if 
he thinketh he standeth, let him take heed lest he 
fall." He must watch and pray, he must fear and 
tremble, he must " chastise his body and bring it 
into subjection, lest, after he has preached to 
others, he himself should be reprobate." 

But I need not go to heathen history for an in- 
stance in point ; Scripture furnishes one a thou- 
sand times more apposite and more impressive. 
Who was so variously gifted, so inwardly endowed, 

H 2 


SO laden with external blessings, as Solomon ? on 
whom are lavished, as on him, the titles and the 
glories of the Eternal Son, God and man ? The 
only aspect of Christ's adorable Person, which his 
history does not represent, does but bring out to 
us the peculiarity of his privileges. He does not 
symbolize Christ's sufferings ; he was neither a 
Priest, nor, like David his father, had he been a 
man of strife and toil and blood. Every thing 
which betokens mortality, every thing which 
savours of the fall, is excluded from our idea of 
Solomon. He is as if an ideal of perfection ; the 
king of peace, the builder of the temple, the father 
of a happy people, the heir of an empire, the won- 
der of all nations ; a prince, yet a sage ; palace- 
bred, yet taught in the schools ; a student, yet a 
man of the w^orld ; deeply read in human nature, 
yet learned too in animals and plants. He has 
the crown without the cross, peace without war, 
experience without suffering, and all this not in 
the mere way of men, or from the general provi- 
dence of God, but vouchsafed to him from the 
very hands of his Creator, by a particular desig- 
nation, and as the result of inspiration. He ob- 
tained it when yoimg ; and w^here shall we find 
anything so touching in the whole of Scripture as 
the circumstances of his obtaining ? who shall 
accuse him of want of religious fear and true 
love, whose dawning is so beautiful ? When the 


Almighty appeared to him in a dream on his com- 
ing to the throne and said, " Ask what I shall 
give thee ;" " O Lord God," he made answer, 
*' Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of 
David my father ; and I am but a child, and 
know how to go out and come in. And Thy 
servant is in the midst of the people which Thou 
hast chosen, an immense people, which cannot be 
numbered nor counted for multitude." Accord- 
ingly, he asked for nothing else but the gift of 
wisdom to enable him to govern his people well ; 
and as his reward for so excellent a petition, he 
received, not only the wisdom for which he had 
asked, but those other gifts for which he had 
asked not : " And the Lord said unto Solomon, 
Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not 
asked for thyself long life, nor riches, nor the 
lives of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself 
wisdom to discern judgment, behold I have done 
to thee according to thy words, and I have given 
to thee a wise and understanding heart, so that 
none has been like thee before thee, nor shall 
rise after thee. Yea, and the things also, which 
thou didst not ask, I have given to thee, to 
wit, riches and glory, so that none has been 
like to thee among the kings in all days here- 

Rare inauguration to his greatness ! the most 
splendid of monarchs owes nothing to injustice, or 
to cruelty, or to violence, or to treachery, nothing 


to human art or to human arm, that he is so 
powerful, so famous, and so wise ; it is a divine 
gift which indued him within, which clothed him 
without. What was wanting to his blessedness ? 
seeking God in his youth, growing up year after 
year in sanctity, fortifying his faith by wisdom, 
and his obedience by experience, and his aspira- 
tions by habit, what shall he not be in the next 
world, who is so glorious in this ? He is a Saint 
ready made ; he is in his youth what others are in 
their age ; he is fit for heaven ere others begin 
the way heavenward : why should he delay ? 
what lacks he yet ? why tarry the wheels of his 
chariot ? why does he remain longer on earth, 
when he has already won his crown, and may be 
carried away in a happy youth, and be securely 
taken into God's keeping, not with the common 
throng of holy souls, but, like Enoch and Elias, 
may pass up on high his long venerable age, in 
some fit secret paradise till the day of redemption ? 
Alas ! he remains on earth to show us that there 
might be one thing lacking amidst that multitude 
of graces ; to show that though there be all faith, 
all hope, all love, all wisdom ; that though there 
be an exuberance of merits, it is all but a vanity, 
it is only a woe in the event, if one gift be want- 
ing, — the gift of perseverance ! He was in his 
youth, what others hardly are in age ; well were 
it, had he been in his end, what the feeblest of 
God's servants is in his beginning ! 


His great father, whose sanctity had been 
wrought into him by many a fight with Satan, and 
who knew how difficult it was to persevere, when 
his death drew near, as if in prophecy rather than 
in prayer, had spoken thus of and to his son and 
his people : " God said to me. Thou shalt not 
build a house to My name, because thou art a man 
of war, and hast shed blood. Solomon, thy son, 
shall build My house and My courts ; for I have 
chosen him to Me for a son, and I will be to him 
a father ; and I will establish his kingdom even 
for ever, if he shall persevere to do My precepts 
and judgments, as at this day. And thou, Solo- 
mon, my son, know the God of thy father, and 
serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing mind, 
for if thou shalt forsake Him, He will cast thee 
off for ever." And then, when he had collected 
together the precious materials for that house 
which he himself was not to build, and was re- 
signing the kingdom to his son, " I know," he 
said, " O my God, that Thou provest hearts, and 
lovest simplicity, wherefore have I in the simplicity 
of my heart and with joy offered to Thee all these 
things ; and Thy people too, which are present 
here, have I seen with great joy to offer to Thee 
their gifts. O Lord God of Abraham, and Isaac, 
and Israel, our fathers, keep for ever this will of 
their hearts, and let this mind remain always for 
the worship of Thee. And to Solomon also, 
my son, give a perfect heart, that he may keep 


Thy commandments and Thy testimonies, and 
Thy ceremonies, and do all things, and build the 
building for the which I have provided the 
charges." Such had been the dim foreboding of 
the father, fearing perhaps for his son from the 
very abundance of that son's prosperity. And in 
truth, it is not good for a man to live in so 
cloudless a splendour, and so unchequered a 
heaven. There is a moral in the history, that he, 
who prefigured the coming Saviour in all His 
offices but that of suffering, should fall ; that the 
King and the Prophet, wlio was neither Priest nor 
Warrior, should come short ; — thereby to show 
that penance is the only sure mother of love. 
" They who sow in tears shall reap in exultation ;" 
but Solomon, like the flowers of the field which 
are so beautiful, yet are cast into the oven, so he 
too, with all his glory, retained not his comeliness, 
ajid withered in his place. He who was wisest 
became as the most brutish ; he who was the 
most devout was lifted up and fell ; he who wrote 
the Song of Songs became the slave and the prey 
of vile affections. " King Solomon loved many 
strange women, unto them he clave with the most 
burning love. And when he was now old, his 
heart was depraved by women, to follow other 
gods, Astarte goddess of the Sidonians, and 
Moloch the idol of the Ammonites ; and so did 
he for all his strange wives, who did burn incense 
and sacrifice unto their gods." O what a con- 


trast between that grey-beaded apostate, laden 
with years and with sins, bowing down to women 
and to idols, and the bright and youthful form, 
standing, on the day of Dedication, in the temple 
he had built, as a mediator between God and His 
people, when he acknowledged so simply, so 
fervently, God's mercies and God's faithfulness, 
and prayed that He would " incline their hearts 
unto Himself, that they might walk in all His 
ways, and keep His commandments, and His cere- 
monies, and His judgments, whatever He had 
commanded to their fathers !" 

Well were it for us, my dear brethren, were it 
only kings and prophets and sages, and other rare 
creations of God's grace, to whom this warning 
applied ; but it apphes to all of us. It is true 
indeed that the holier a man is, and the higher in 
the kingdom of heaven, so much the greater need 
has he to look carefully to his footing lest he 
stumble and be lost ; and a deep conviction of 
this necessity has been the sole preservative of 
the Saints. Had they not feared to fall, they 
never would have persevered. Hence, like St. 
Paul, they are always full of their sin and their 
peril. You would think them the most polluted 
of sinners and the most unstable of penitents. 
Such was the blessed Martyr Ignatius, who when 
on his way to his death, said, " Now I begin to 
be Christ's cUsciple." Such was the great Basil, 


who was ever ascribing the calamities of the 
Church and of his country to the wrath of Heaven 
upon his own sins. Such was St. Gregory, who 
submitted to his elevation to the Popedom, as if 
it was his spiritual death. Such too was my own 
dear Father St. Philip, who was ever showing, in 
the midst of the gifts he received from God, the 
anxiety and jealousy with which he regarded 
himself and his prospects. "Every day," says 
his biographer, " he used to make a protest to 
God with the Blessed Sacrament in his hands, 
saying, ' Lord, beware of me to-day, lest I should 
betray Thee, and do Thee all the mischief in the 
world.' " At other times he would say, " The 
wound in Christ's side is large, but, if God did 
not guard me, I should make it larger." In his 
last illness, " Lord, if I recover, so far as I am 
concerned, I shall do more evil than ever, because 
I have promised so many times before to change 
my life, and have not kept my word, so that I 
despair of myself" He would shed abundance 
of tears and say, " I have never done one good 
action." When he saw young persons, he began 
considering how much time they had before them 
to do good in, and said, " O happy you! happy 
you!" He often said, "I am past hope," and, 
when urged, he added, "but I trust in God." 
When a penitent of his called him a Saint, he 
turned to her with a face full of anger, and said, 


" Begone with you, I am a devil, not a Saint." 
When another said to him, " Father, a temptation 
has come to me to think you are not what the 
world takes you for," he answered, " Be sure of 
this, that I am a man like my neighbours, and 
nothing more." 

What a reflection on ordinary Christians is the 
language of Saints about themselves! Multitudes 
indeed live in mortal sin, and have no concern at 
all about present, past, or future. But even those 
who go so far as to come to the Sacraments, 
never trouble themselves with the thought of per- 
severance. They seem to take it as a matter of 
course that, if they are in a good state of mind at 
present, it will continue. Perhaps they have been 
converted from a sinful life, and are very diiferent 
from what they have been. They feel the com- 
fort of the change, they feel the peace and satis- 
faction of a cleansed conscience, but they are so 
taken up with that comfort and peace, that they 
rest in it and become secure. They do not guard 
against temptation, or pray for support under it ; 
it does not occur to them that, as they have 
changed from sin to religion, so they may, if so 
be, change back again from religion to sin. They 
do not realize enough their continual dependence 
on God ; some temptation comes on them, or 
some vicissitude of life, they are surprised, they 
fall, and perhaps they never recover. 


What a scene is this life, a scene of almost 
universal disappointment ! of springs blighted, — 
of harvests beaten down by the storm, when they 
should have been gathered into the storehouses ! 
of tardy and imperfect repentances, when there is 
nothing else left to be done, of unsatisfactory 
resolves and poor efforts, when the end of life is 
come ! O my dear children, how subdued our 
rejoicing in you is, even when you are walking 
well and hopefully! how anxious are we for you, 
even when you are cheerful from the lightness of 
your conscience and the sincerity of your hearts ! 
how we sigh when we give thanks for you, and 
tremble even while we rejoice in hearing your 
confessions and absolving you ! And why ? be- 
cause we know how great and high is the gift of 
perseverance. When Hazael came with his pre- 
sents to the prophet Eliseus, the man of God 
stood over against him, in silence and in bitter 
thought, till at last the blood mounted up into 
his countenance, and he wept. He wept, to 
Hazael's surprise, at the prospect of the dreadful 
butcheries w^hich the soldier before him, little as 
he expected it, was to perpetrate when he suc- 
ceeded to the throne of Syria. We, O honest 
and cheerful hearts, are not prophets as Eliseus, 
nor are you destined to high estate and extraor- 
dinary temptations as Hazael ; but still the tears 
which the man of God shed, what if some Angel 


should be shedding the like over any of you, what 
time you are receiving pardon and grace from the 
voice and hand of the Priests of Christ ! O how 
many are there who pass well and hopefully 
through what seem to be their most critical years, 
and fall just when one might consider them 
beyond danger ! How many are good youths, 
yet careless men ; blameless from fifteen to 
twenty, yet captives to habits of sin between 
twenty and thirty ! How many persevere till 
they marry, and then perhaps get inextricably 
entangled in the cares or pleasures of this world, 
and give up attendance on the Sacraments, and 
other holy practices, which they have hitherto 
observed ! how many pass through their married 
life well, but lapse into sin on the death of wife or 
husband ! How many are there who by mere 
change of place lose their religious habits, and 
become first careless and then shameless ! How 
many upon the commission of one sin fall into 
remorse, disgust of themselves, and recklessness, 
avoid the Confessional from shame and despair, 
and live on year after year, burthened with the 
custody of some miserable secret ! How many 
fall into trouble, lose their spirit and heart, shut 
themselves up in themselves, and feel a sort of 
aversion to religion, when religion would be all in 
all to them ! How many come to some great 
prosperity, and, carried away by it, " wax fat and 


kick, and leave God their Maker, and recede from 
God their Saviour !" How many fall into luke- 
warmness almost like death, after their first 
fervour ! How many lose the graces begun in 
them by self-confidence and arrogant impetuosity ! 
How many, not yet Catholics, who under God's 
guidance were making right for the Catholic 
Church, suddenly turn short and miss, " like a 
crooked bow !" How many, when led forward 
by God's unmerited grace, are influenced by the 
persuasions of relatives or the inducements of 
station or of wealth, and become in the event 
sceptics or infidels when they might have almost 
died in the odour of sanctity ! How many, whose 
contrition once gained for them even the grace of 
justification, yet afterwards, by refusing to go for- 
ward, have gone backw^ards, though they maintain 
a semblance of what they once were, by means of 
the mere natural habits which supernatural grace 
has formed within them ! What a miserable 
wreck is the world, hopes without substance, 
promises w^ithout fulfilment, repentance wdthout 
amendment, blossom without fruit, continuance 
and progress without perseverance ! 

O, my dearest children, let me not depress 
you ; it is your duty, your privilege to rejoice ; 
I would not frighten you more than it is good for 
you to be frightened. Some of you will take it 
too much to heart, and will fret yourselves unduly, 


as I fear. I do not wish to sadden you, but to 
make you cautious ; doubt not you will be led 
on, fear not to fall, provided you do but fear a fall. 
Fearing will secure you from what you fear. 
Only " be sober, be vigilant," as St. Peter says, 
beware of taking satisfaction in what you are, 
understand that the only way to avoid faUing 
back is to press forward. Dread all occasions of 
sin, get a habit of shrinking from the beginnings 
of temptation. Never speak confidently about 
yourselves, nor contemptuously of the religious- 
ness of others, nor lightly of sacred things ; 
guard your eyes, guard the first springs of 
thought, be jealous of yourselves when alone, 
neglect not your daily prayers ; above all, pray 
specially and continually for the gift of persever- 
ance. Come to Mass as often as you can, visit 
the Blessed Sacrament, make frequent acts of 
faith and love, and try to live in the Presence of 
God. And further still, interest your dear 
Mother, the Mother of God, in your success ; 
pray to her earnestly for it ; she can do more for 
you than any one else. Pray her by the pain she 
suffered, when the sharp sword went through her, 
pray her, by her own perseverance, which was in 
her the gift of the same God of whom you ask it 
for yourselves. God will not refuse you, He will 
not refuse her, if you have recourse to her suc- 
cour. It will be a blessed thing, in your last 


hour, when flesh and heart are failing, in the 
midst of the pain, the weariness, the restlessness, 
the prostration of strength, and the exhaustion of 
spirits, which then will be your portion, it will be 
blessed indeed to have her at your side, more 
tender than an earthly mother, to nurse you and 
to whisper peace. It will be most blessed, when 
the evil one is making his last effort, when he is 
coming on you in his might to pluck you away 
from your Father's hand, if he can, — it will be 
blessed indeed if Jesus, Joseph, and Mary are 
then with you, waiting to shield you from his 
assaults and to receive your soul. If they are 
there, all is there ; Angels are there. Saints are 
there, heaven is there, heaven is begun in you, 
and the devil has no part in you. That dread 
day may be sooner or later, you may be taken 
away young, you may live to fourscore, you may 
die in your bed, you may die in the open field, 
but if Mary intercedes for you, that day will find 
you watching and ready. All things will be fixed 
to secure your salvation ; all dangers will be fore- 
seen, all obstacles removed, all aids provided. 
The hour will come, and in a moment you will be 
translated beyond fear and risk, you will be trans- 
lated into a new state where sin is not, nor 
ignorance of the future, but perfect faith and 
serene joy, and assurance and love everlasting. 


Jesu, Joseph, and Mary, I offer you my heart 

and my soul ! 
Jesu, Joseph, and Mary, assist me in my last 

agony ! 
Jesu, Joseph, and Mary, let me breathe out my 

soul with you in peace ! 



In the Parable of the Good Shepherd our Lord 
sets before us a dispensation or state of things, 
which is very strange in the eyes of the world. 
He speaks of mankind as consisting of two bodies, 
distinct from each other, divided by as real a line 
of demarcation as the fence which encloses the 
sheepfold. " I am the Door," He says, " by Me 
if any man shall have entered in, he shall be 
saved : and he shall go in and go out, and shall 
find pastures. My sheep hear My voice, and I 
know them, and they follow Me, and I give them 
life everlasting ; and they shall not perish for 
ever, and no man shall snatch them out of My 
Hand." And in His last prayer for His disciples 
to His Eternal Father, He says, " I have manifest- 
ed Thy Name to the men whom Thou hast given 
Me out of the world. Thine they were, and 


Thou hast given them to Me, and they have kept 
Thy word. I pray for them, I pray not for the 
world, but for those whom Thou hast given Me, 
for they are Thine. Holy Father, keep them in 
Thy name whom Thou hast given Me, that they 
may be one, as We also." Ndr are these passages 
solitary or singular ; " Fear not, little flock," He 
says in another Evangelist, " for it hath pleased 
your Father to give you a kingdom." And again, 
" I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
that Thou hast hid these things from the wise 
and prudent, and hast revealed them unto little 
ones ;" and again, " How narrow is the gate, and 
strait the way which leadeth to life, and few 
there are who find it!" St. Paul repeats and in- 
sists on this doctrine of his Lord, " Ye were once 
darkness, but now are light in the Lord;" "He 
hath delivered us from tlie power of darkness, 
and hath translated us into the kingdom of the 
Son of His love." And St. John, " Greater is 
He that is in you than he that is in the world. 
They are of the world, we are of God." Thus 
there are two parties on this earth, and two only, 
if we view men in their religious aspect ; those, 
the few, who hear Christ's words and follow Him, 
who are in the light, and walk in the narrow way, 
and have the promise of heaven ; and those, on 
the other hand, who are the many, for whom 
Christ prays not, though He has died for them, 



who are wise and prudent in their own eyes, who 
are possessed by the evil one, and are subject to 
his rule. 

And such is the view taken of mankind, as by 
their Maker and Redeemer, so also by the smaV. 
company in whom He lives and is glorified ; but 
far differently does the larger body, the world 
itself, look upon mankind at large, upon its own 
vast multitudes, and upon those whom God has 
taken out of it for His own special inheritance. 
It considers that all men are pretty much on a 
level, or that, differ though they may, they differ 
by such fine shades from each other, that it is 
impossible, because it would be untrue and unjust, 
to divide them into two bodies, or to divide them 
at all. Each man is like himself and no one else ; 
each man has his own opinions, his own rule of 
faith and conduct, his own worship ; if a number 
join together in a religious form, this is an acci- 
dent, for the sake of convenience ; for each is 
complete in himself; religion is simply a personal 
concern ; there is no such thing really as a com- 
mon or joint religion, that is, one in which a num- 
ber of men, strictly speaking, partake ; it is all 
matter of private judgment. Hence, as men 
sometimes proceed even to avow, there is no such 
thing as a true religion or a false ; that is true to 
each, [which each sincerely beheves to be true; 
and what is true to one, is not true to his neigh- 


hour. There are no special doctrines, necessary 
to be believed in order to salvation ; it is not 
very difficult to be saved ; and most men may 
take it for granted that they shall be saved. All 
men are in God's favour, except so far as, and 
while, they commit acts of sin ; but when the sin 
is over, they get back into His favour again, natu- 
rallv and as a thing of course, no one knows 
how, owing to God's infinite indulgence, unless 
indeed they persevere and die in a course of sin, 
and perhaps even then. There is no such place 
as hell, or at least punishment is not eternal. 
Predestination, election, grace, perseverance, faith, 
sanctity, unbelief, and reprobation are strange 
ideas, and, as they think, very false ones. This 
is the cast of opinion of men in general, in pro- 
portion as they exercise their minds on the subject 
of religion, and think for themselves ; and if in 
any respect they depart from the easy, cheerful 
and tranquil temper of mind which it expresses, 
it is when they are led to think of those who pre- 
sume to take the contrary view, that is, who take 
the view set forth by Christ and His Apostles. 
On these they are commonly severe, that is, on 
the very persons whom God acknowledges as 
His, and is training heavenward, — on CathoHcs, 
who are the witnesses and preachers of those 
awful doctrines of grace, which condemn the world 
and which the world cannot endure. 


In truth the world does not know of the exist- 
ence of grace ; nor is it wonderful, for it is ever 
contented with itself, and has never turned to 
account the supernatural aids bestowed upon it. 
Its highest idea of man lies in the order of nature ; 
its pattern man is the natural man ; it thinks it 
wrong to be any thing else than a natural man. 
It sees that nature has a number of tendencies, 
inclinations, and passions ; and because these are 
natural, it thinks that each of them may be in- 
dulged for its own sake, so far as it does no harm 
to others, or to a person's bodily, mental, and 
temporal well-being. It considers that want of 
moderation, or excess, is the very definition of sin, 
if it goes so far as to recognize that word. It 
thinks that he is the perfect man who eats, and 
drinks, and sleeps, and walks, and diverts himself, 
and studies, and writes, and attends to religion, in 
moderation. The devotional feeling, and the in- 
tellect, and the flesh, have each its claim upon 
us, and each must have play, if the Creator is to 
be duly honoured. It does not understand, it 
will not admit, that impulses and propensities, 
which are found in our nature, as God created it, 
may nevertheless, if indulged, become sins, on the 
ground that He has subjected them to higher 
principles, whether these principles be in our 
nature, or be superadded to our nature. Hence 
it is very slow to believe that evil thoughts are 


really displeasing to God, and incur punishment. 
Works, indeed, tangible actions, which are seen 
and which have influence, it will allow to be 
wrong ; but it will not believe even that deeds 
are sinful, or that they are more than reprehen- 
sible, if they are private or personal ; and it is 
Wind utterly to the malice of thoughts, of imagi- 
nations, of wishes, and of words. Because the 
wild emotions of wrath, hatred, desire, greediness, 
cruelty are no sin in the brute creation, which has 
neither the means nor the command to repress 
them, therefore they are no sins in a being who 
has a diviner sense and a controlling power. 
Concupiscence may be indulged, because it is 
in its first elements natural. 

Behold here the true origin and fountain-head 
of the warfare between the Church and the world ; 
here they join issue, and diverge from each other. 
The Church is built upon the doctrine that impu- 
rity is hateful to God, and that concupiscence is 
its root ; with the Prince of the Apostles, her 
visible Head, she denounces "the corruption of 
concupiscence which is in the world," or, that 
corruption in the world which comes of concu- 
piscence ; whereas the corrupt world defends, nay, 
I may even say, sanctifies that very concupiscence 
which is the world's corruption. Its bolder and 
more consistent teachers, as you know, my bre- 
thren, make the laws of this physical creation so 


supreme, as to disbelieve the existence of miracles, 
as being an unseemly violation of them ; well, 
and in like manner, it deifies and worships 
human nature and its impulses, and denies the 
power and the grant of grace. This is the 
source of the hatred which the world bears to the 
Church ; it finds a whole catalogue of sins brought 
into light and denounced, which it would fain 
believe to be no sins at all ; it finds itself, to its 
indignation and impatience, surrounded with sin, 
morning, noon, and night ; it finds that a stem 
law lies against it, where it believed that it was 
its own master and need not think of God ; it 
finds guilt accumulating upon it hourly, which 
nothing can prevent, nothing remove, but a higher 
power, the grace of God. It finds itself in danger 
of being humbled to the earth as a rebel, instead 
of being allowed to indulge its self-dependence 
and self-complacency. Hence it takes its stand on 
nature, and denies or rejects divine grace. Like 
the proud spirit in the beginning, it wishes to find 
its supreme good in its own self, and nothing above 
it ; it undertakes to be sufficient for its own hap- 
piness ; it has no desire for the supernatural, and 
therefore does not believe in it. And as nature 
cannot rise above nature, it will not believe that 
the narrow way is possible ; it hates those who 
enter upon it as if pretenders and hypocrites, or 
laughs at their aspirations as romance and fana- 


ticism ; — lest it should have to believe in the 
existence of grace. 

Now you may think, my brethren, from the way 
in which I have been constrasting nature and 
grace, that they cannot possibly be mistaken for 
each other ; but now I shall show you, in the next 
place, how grace may be mistaken for nature, and 
nature mistaken for grace. They may easily be 
mistaken for each other, because, as it is plain 
from what I have said, the difference is in a great 
measure an inward, and therefore a secret one. 
Grace is lodged in the heart ; it purifies the 
thoughts and motives, it raises the soul to God, 
it sanctifies the body, it corrects and exalts human 
nature in regard to those sins of which men are 
ashamed, and do not make a public display. 
Accordingly, in outward show, in single actions, 
in word, in profession, in teaching, in the social 
and political virtues, in striking and heroical ex- 
ploits, on the public transitory scene of things, 
nature may counterfeit grace, nay even to the de- 
ception of the man himself in whom the counter- 
feit occurs. Recollect that it is by nature, not by 
grace, that man has the gifts of reason and con- 
science ; and mere reason and conscience will 
lead him to discover, and in a measure pursue, 
objects which are, properly speaking, supernatural 
and divine. The natural reason is able, from the 
things which are seen, from the voice of tradition, 


from the existence of the soul, and from the ne- 
cessity of the case, to infer the existence of God, 
The natural heart can burst forth by fits and 
starts into emotions of love towards Him ; the 
natural imagination can depict the beauty and 
glory of His attributes ; the natural conscience 
may ascertain and put in order the truths of the 
great moral law, nay even to the condemnation of 
that concupiscence, which it is too weak to subdue, 
and is therefore persuaded to tolerate. The na- 
tural will can do many things really good and 
praiseworthy ; nay, in particular cases, or at par- 
ticular seasons, when temptation is away, it may 
seem to have a strength which it has not, and to 
be imitating the austerity and purity of a Saint. 
One man has no temptation to hoard ; another 
has no temptation to gluttony and drunkenness ; 
another has no temptation to ill humour ; another 
has no temptation to be ambitious and overbear- 
ing. Hence human nature may often show to 
great advantage ; it may be meek, amiable, kind, 
benevolent, generous, honest, upright, and tempe- 
rate ; and, as seen in its happier specimens, it may 
become quite a trial to faith, seeing that in its best 
estate it has really no relationship to the family of 
Christ, and no claim whatever to a heavenly re- 
ward, — though it can talk of Christ and heaven 
too, read Scripture, and " do many things wil- 
lingly" in consequence of reading it, and can 


exercise a certain sort of belief, however differ- 
ent from that faith which is imparted to us by 

Certainly, it is a most mournful, often quite a 
piercing thought, to contemplate the conduct and 
the character of those who have never received 
the elementary grace of God in the Sacrament of 
Baptism. They are sometimes so benevolent, so 
active and untiring in their benevolence ; they 
may be so wise and so considerate ; they may 
have so much in them to engage the aifections of 
those who see them ! Well, let us leave them to 
God ; His grace is over all the earth ; if that 
grace comes to good effect and bears fruit in the 
hearts of the unbaptized. He will reward it ; but, 
where grace is not, there doubtless what looks so 
fair has its reward in this world, for such good as is 
in it, but has no better claim on a heavenly 
reward than skill in any art or science, than elo- 
quence or wit. And moreover, it often happens, 
that, where there is much that is specious and 
amiable, there is also much that is sinful, and 
frightfully so. Men show their best face in the 
world ; but for the greater part of their time, the 
many hours of the day and the night, they are 
shut up in their own thoughts. They are their 
own witnesses, none see them besides, save God 
and His Angels ; therefore in such cases we can 
only judge of what we actually see, and can only 

I 2 


admire what is in itself good, without having any 
means of determining the real moral condition of 
those who display it. Just as children are caught 
by the mere good-nature and familiarity with 
which they are treated by some grown man, and 
have no means or thought of forming a judgment 
about him in other respects, and may be surprised, 
when they grow up, to find how unworthy he is 
of their respect or affection ; as the uneducated, 
who have seen very little of the world, have no 
faculties for distinguishing between one class of 
men and another, and consider all persons on a 
level who are respectably dressed, whatever be 
their accent, their carriage, or their countenance ; 
so all of us, not children only or the uncultivated, 
are but novices, or less than novices, in the busi- 
ness of deciding what is the real state in God's 
sight of this or that man who is external to the 
Church, yet in character or conduct resembles her 
true sons. Not entering then upon this point, 
which is beyond us, so much we even can see 
and are sure of, that human nature is, in a degree 
beyond all words, inconsistent, and that we must 
not take for granted that it can do anything at all 
more than it actually does, or that those, in whom 
it shows most plausibly, are a whit better than 
they look. We see the best, and (as far as moral 
excellence goes) the whole of them ; we cannot 
argue from what we see in favour of what we do 


not see ; we cannot take what we see as a speci- 
men of what they really are. Sad then as the 
spectacle of such a man is to a Catholic, he is 
no difficulty to him. He may be benevolent, and 
kind-hearted, and generous, upright and honour- 
able, candid, dispassionate, and forbearing, yet he 
may have nothing of a special Christian cast about 
him, meekness, purity, or devotion. He may like 
his own way intensely, have a great opinion of 
his own powers, scoff at faith and religious fear, 
and seldom or never have said a prayer in his life. 
Nay, even outward gravity of deportment is no 
warrant that there is not within an habitual indul- 
gence of evil thoughts, and secret offences odious 
to Almighty God. We admire then whatever is 
excellent in the 'ancient heathen (as in modems, 
who are often in their condition), we acknow- 
ledge without jealousy w^hat they have done vir- 
tuous and praiseworthy, but we understand as 
little of the character or destiny of the being in 
whom that goodness is found, as we understand 
the nature of the material substances which present 
themselves to us under the outward garb of shape 
and colour. I'hey are to us as unknown causes 
which have influenced or disturbed the world, and 
which manifest themselves in certain great effects, 
political, social, or ethical ; they are to us as pic- 
tures, which appeal to the eye, but not to the 
touch. We do not know that they would prove 


to be more real than a painting, if we could touch 
them. Thus much we know, that, if they have 
attained to heaven, it has been by the grace of 
God and their co-operation with it ; if they have 
lived and died without that grace, they will never 
see life ; and, if they have Hved and died in mor- 
tal sin, they are in the state of bad Catholics, 
and will for ever see death. 

Yet, taking the mere outward appearance of 
things, and the more felicitous, though partial 
and occasional, efforts of human nature, how great 
it is, how amiable, how brilliant, — if we may pre- 
tend to the power of viewing it distinct from the 
supernatural influences which have ever haunted 
it ! How great are the old Greek lawgivers and 
statesmen, whose histories and works are known 
to some of us, and whose names to many 
more ! How great are those stern Roman heroes, 
who conquered the world, and prepared the way . 
for Christ ! How wise, how profound, are those 
ancient teachers and sages ! what power of 
imagination, what a semblance of prophecy, is 
manifest in their poets ! The present world is 
in many respects not so great as that old time, 
but even now there is enough in it to show both 
the strength of human nature in this respect, and 
its weakness. Consider the solidity of our own 
political fabric at home, and the expansion of our 
empire abroad, and you will have matter enough 


spread out before you to occupy many a long day 
in admiration of the genius, the virtues, and the 
resources of human nature. Take a second 
meditation upon it ; alas ! you will find nothing of 
faith there, but only expedience as the measure of 
right and wrong, and only temporal well-being as 
the end of action. Again, many are the tales and 
poems written now-a-days, expressing high and 
beautiful sentiments ; I dare say some of you, my 
brethren, have fallen in with them, and perhaps 
you have thought to yourselves, that he must be 
a man of deep religious feeling and high religious 
profession who could write so well. Is it so in 
fact, my brethren ? it is not so ; why ? because 
after all it is but poetry, not religion ; it is human 
nature exerting the powers of imagination and 
reason, which it has, till it seems also to have 
powers which it has not. There are, you know, 
in the animal world various creatures, which are 
able to imitate the voice of man ; nature in like 
manner is often a mockerjf of grace. The truth 
is, the natural man sees this or that principle to 
be good or true from the light of conscience ; and 
then, since he has the power of reasoning he knows 
that, if this be true, many other things are true 
likewise ; and then, having the power of imagina- 
tion, he pictures to himself those other things as 
true, though he does not really understand them. 
And then he brings to his aid, what he has read 


and gained from others, who have had grace, and 
completes his sketch ; and then he throws his 
feelings and his heart into it, meditates on it, and 
kindles in himself a sort of enthusiasm, and thus 
he is able to write beautifully and touchingly 
about what to others indeed may be a reality, but 
to him is nothing more than a fiction. Thus 
some can write about the early Martyrs, and others 
describe some great Saint of the middle ages, not 
exactly as a Catholic, but as if they had a piety 
and a seriousness to which really they are strangers. 
So too actors on a stage can excite themselves till 
they think they are the persons they represent ; 
and, as you know, prejudiced persons, who wish 
to quarrel with another, impute something to him, 
which at first they scarcely believe themselves, but 
they wish to believe it and act as if it were true, 
and raise and cherish anger at the thought of it, 
till at last they come simply to believe it. So it 
is, I say, in the case of many an author in verse and 
prose ; readers are deceived by his fine writing ; 
they not only praise this or that sentiment, or 
argument, or description, in what they read, which 
happens to be true, but they put faith in the writer 
himself ; and they believe sentiments or state- 
ments which are false on the credit of the true. 
Thus it is that people are led away into false reli- 
gions and false philosophies ; a preacher or 
speaker, who is in a state of nature, or has fallen 


from grace, is able to say many things to touch the 
heart of a sinner or to strike his conscience, 
whether from his natural powers, or from what he 
has read in books ; and the latter forthwith takes 
him for his prophet and guide, on the warrant of 
these accidental truths which it required no super- 
natural gifts to discover and enforce. 

Scripture provides us an instance of such a 
prophet ; nay, of one far more favoured and 
honoured than any false teacher is now, who 
nevertheless was the enemy of God ; I mean the 
prophet Balaam. He went forth to curse the 
chosen people in spite of an express prohibition 
from heaven, and that for money ; and at length 
he died fighting against them in battle. Such was 
he in his life and in his death ; such were his 
deeds ; but what were his words ? most religious, 
most conscientious, most instructive. " If Balac," 
he says, " shall give me his house full of silver 
and gold, I cannot alter the word of the Lord my 
God." Again, " Let my soul die the death of the 
just, and let my end be Hke to theirs !" And 
again, " I will show thee, O man, what is good, 
and what the Lord requireth of thee ; to do 
judgment and to love mercy, and to walk heed- 
fully with thy God." Here is a man, who is not 
in a state of grace, speaking so religiously, that 
at first sight you might have thought he was to 
be followed in whatever he said, and that your 
soul would have been safe with his. 


And thus it often happens, that those who 
seem so amiable and good, and so trustworthy, 
when we only know them from their writings, 
disappoint us so painfully, if at length we come to 
have a personal acquaintance with them. We 
do not recognize in the hving being the eloquence 
or the wisdom which so much enchanted us. He 
is rude perhaps and unfeeling ; he is selfish ; he 
is dictatorial ; he is sensual ; he is empty-minded 
and frivolous ; while we in our simplicity had 
antecedently thought him the very embodiment 
of purity and tenderness, or an oracle of heavenly 

Now, my dear brethren, I have been engaged 
in bringing before you what human nature can 
do, and what it can appear, without being recon- 
ciled to God, without any hope of heaven, without 
any security against sin, without any pardon of 
the original curse, nay, in the midst of mortal 
sin ; but it is a state which has never existed in 
fact, without great modifications. No one has 
ever been deprived of the assistance of grace, 
both for illumination and conversion ; even the 
heathen world as a whole had to a certain extent 
its darkness relieved by these fitful and recurrent 
gleams of light ; but I have thought it useful to 
get you to contemplate what human nature is, 
viewed in itself, for various reasons. It explains 
how it is that men look so hke each other as they 
do, — grace being imitated, and, as it were rivalled 


by nature, both in society at large, and in the 
hearts of particular persons. Hence the world 
will not believe the separation really existing 
between it and the Church, and the smallness 
of the flock of Christ. And hence too it is, that 
numbers who have heard the Name of Christ, 
and profess to believe in the Gospel, will not be 
persuaded as regards themselves that they are ex- 
terior to the Church, and do not enjoy her privi- 
leges ; merely because they do their duty in some 
general way, or because they are conscious to 
themselves of being benevolent or upright. And 
this is a point which concerns Catholics too, as I 
now proceed to show you. 

Make yourselves quite sure then, my brethren, 
of the matter of fact, before you go away with 
the belief, that you are not confusing, in your own 
case, nature and grace, and taking credit to your- 
selves for supernatural works, which merit heaven, 
when you are but doing the works of a heathen, 
are unforgiven, and lie under an eternal sentence. 
O, it is a dreadful thought, that a man may 
deceive himself with the notion that he is secure, 
merely because he is a Catholic, and because he 
has some kind of love and fear of God, whereas 
he may be no better than many a Protestant round 
about him, who either never was baptized, or 
threw himself once for all out of grace on coming 
to years of understanding. This idea is entirely 


conceivable ; it is well if it be not true in matter 
of fact. You know, it is one opinion entertained 
among divines and holy men, that the number of 
Catholics that are to be saved will on the whole 
be small. Multitudes of those who never knew 
the Gospel will rise up in the judgment against 
the children of the Church, and will be shown to 
have done more with scantier opportunities. 
Our Lord speaks of His people as a small flock, 
as I cited His words when I began : He says, 
" Many are called, few are chosen." St. Paul, 
speaking, in the first instance, of the Jews, says 
that but " a remnant is saved according to the 
election of grace." He speaks even of the 
possibility of his own reprobation. What a 
thought in an Apostle ! yet it is one with which 
Saints are familiar ; they fear both for themselves 
and for others. It is related in the history of my 
own dear Patron, St. Philip Neri, that some 
time after his death he appeared to a holy reli- 
gious, and bade him take a message of consolation 
to his children, the Fathers of the Oratory. The 
consolation was this, that, by the grace of God, 
up to that day not one of the Congregation had 
been lost. " None of them lost !" a man may 
cry out, " well, had his consolation for his children 
been, that they were all in paradise, having 
escaped the dark lake of purgatory, that would 
have been something worth telling ; but all he 


had to say was, that none of them were in hell ! 
Strange if they were ! Here was a succession of 
men, who had given up the world for a religious 
life, who had given up self for God and their 
neighbour, who had passed their days in prayer 
and good works, who had died happily with the 
last Sacraments, and it is revealed about them, as 
a great consolation, that none of them were lost !" 
Still such after all is our holy Father's consolation; 
and, that it should be such, only proves that sal- 
vation is not so easy a matter, or so cheap a 
possession, as we are apt to suppose. It is not 
obtained by the mere wishing. And, if it was a 
thing so to be coveted by men, who had made 
sacrifices for Christ, and were living in sanctity, 
how much more rare and arduous of attainment 
is it in those who have confessedly loved the 
world more than God, and have never dreamed 
of doing any duty to which the Church did not 
oblige them ? 

Tell me, what is the state of your souls and the 
rule of your lives ? You come to Confession, 
once a year, four times a year, at the Indulgences ; 
you communicate as often ; you do not miss Mass 
on days of obligation ; you are not conscious of 
any great sin. — There you come to an end ; you 
have nothing more to say. What ? do you not 
take God's name in vain ? only when you are 
angry ; — that is, I suppose, you are subject to 


fits of \'iolent passion, in which you use every 
shocking word which the devil puts into your 
mouth, and abuse and curse, and perhaps strike 
the objects of your anger ? — Only now and 
then, you say, when you are in hquor. Then 
it seems you are given to intoxication ? — you 
answer, you never drink so much as not to know 
what you are doing. Well, have you improved 
in these respects in the course of several years 
past ? You cannot say you have, but such sins 
are not mortal at the most. Then, I suppose, you 
have not lately fallen into mortal sin at all ? You 
pause, and then you are obliged to confess that 
you have, and that once and again ; and the more 
I question you, perhaps the longer becomes the 
catalogue of offences which have separated you 
from God. But tliis is not all ; your sole idea of 
sin is, the sinning in act and in deed ; sins of 
habit, which cling so close to you that they are 
difficult to detect, and manifest themselves in 
slight but continual influences on your thoughts, 
words, and works, do not engage your attention 
at all. You are selfish, and obstinate, and worldly, 
and self-indulgent ; you neglect your children ; 
you are fond of idle amusements ; you scarcely 
ever think of God from day to day, for I cannot 
call your hurried prayers morning and night any 
thinking of Him at all. You are friends with the 
world, and live a good deal among those who 


have no sense of religion. Now what have you 
to tell me w hich will set against this ? what good 
have you done ? in what is your hope of heaven ? 
whence do you gain it ? You answer me, that 
the Sacrament of Penance reconciles you from 
time to time to God ; that you live in the world ; 
that you are not called to the religious state ; that 
it is true you love the world more than God, but 
that you love God sufficiently for salvation, and 
that you rely in the hour of death upon the power- 
ful intercession of the Blessed Mother of God. 
Then besides, you have a number of good points, 
which you go through, and which are to you signs 
that you are in the grace of God ; you conceive 
that your state at worst is one of tepidity. Te- 
pidity ! I tell you, you have no marks of tepidity : 
do you w ish to know what a tepid person is ? 
one, who has begun to lead almost the life of a 
Saint, and has fallen from his fervour ; one who 
retains his good practices, but does them without 
devotion ; one who does so much, that we only 
blame him for not doing more. No, you need 
not confess tepidity, my brethren ; — do you wish 
to have the judgment which I am led to form 
about you ? it is, that probably you are not in the 
grace of God at all. The probability is, that for 
a long while past you have gone to Confession 
without the proper dispositions, without real 
grief, and without sincere purpose of amendment 


for your sins. You are probably such, that were 
you to die this night, you would be lost for ever. 
What do you do more than nature ? You do certain 
good things ; " what reward have ye ? do not even 
the publicans so ? what do ye more than others ? 
do not even the heathen so?" You have the 
ordinary virtues of human nature, or some of 
them ; you are what nature made you, and care 
not to be better. You may be naturally kind- 
hearted, and then you do charitable actions to 
others ; you have a natural strength of charac- 
ter,— if so, you are able to bring your passions 
under the power of reason ; you have a natural 
energy, and you labour for your family ; you are 
naturally mild, and you do not quarrel ; you have 
a dislike of intemperance, and therefore you are 
sober. You have the virtues of your Protestant 
neighbours, and their faults too ; what are you 
better than they ? 

Here is another grave matter against you, that 
you are so well with the Protestants about you ; 
I do not mean to say that you are not bound to 
cultivate peace with all men, and to do them all 
the offices of charity in your power. Of course 
you are, and if they respect, esteem, and love you, 
it redounds to your praise and will gain you a re- 
ward ; but I mean more than this ; they do not 
respect you, but they like you, because they think 
of you as of themselves, they see no difference 


between themselves and you. This is the very 
reason why they so often take your part, and 
assert or defend your poUtical rights. Here again, 
there is a sense of course in which our civil rights 
may be advocated by Protestants without any 
reflection on us, and with honour to them. We 
are like others in this, that we are men ; that we 
are members of the same state with them, subjects, 
contented subjects, of the same Sovereign , that 
we have a dependence on them, and have 
them dependent on us ; that, like them, we feel 
pain when iU-used, and are grateful when well- 
treated. We need not be ashamed of a fellow- 
ship like this, and those who recognize it in us are 
generous in doing so. But we have much cause 
to be ashamed, and much cause to be anxious 
what God thinks of us, if we gain their support 
by giving them a false impression in our persons 
of what the Catholic Church is, and what Catholics 
are bound to be, what bound to believe, and to 
do ; and is not this the case often, my brethren, 
that the world takes up your interests, because 
you share its sins ? 

Nature is one with nature, grace with grace ; 
the world then witnesses against you by being 
good friends with you ; you could not have got 
on with the world so well, without surrendering 
something which was precious and sacred. The 
world likes you, all but your professed creed ; 


distinguishes you from your creed in its judgment 
of you, and would fain separate you from it in 
fact. Men say, " These persons are better than 
their Church ; we have not a word to say for their 
Church ; but Catholics are not what they were, 
they are very much like other men now. Their 
Creed certainly is bigoted and cruel, but what 
would you have of them ? You cannot expect 
them to confess this ; let them change quietly, no 
one changes in public, be satisfied that they are 
changed. They are as fond of the world as we 
are ; they take up political objects as warmly ; 
they like their ownVay just as well ; they do not 
like strictness a whit better ; they hate spiritual 
thraldom, and they are half ashamed of the Pope 
and his Councils. They hardly believe any 
miracles now, and are annoyed when their own 
brethren officiously proclaim them ; they never 
speak of purgatory ; they are sore about images ; 
they avoid the subject of Indulgences ; and they 
will not commit themselves to the doctrine of ex- 
clusive salvation. The Cathohc doctrines are 
now mere badges of party. Cathohcs think for 
themselves and judge for themselves, just as we 
do ; they are kept in their Church by a point of 
honour, and a reluctance at seeming to abandon 
a fallen cause." 

Such is the judgment of the world, and you, 
my brethren, are shocked to hear it ; — but may it 


not be, that the world knows more about you 
than you know about yourselves ? " If ye had 
been of the world," says Christ, " the world 
would love its own ; but because ye are not of 
the world, but I have chosen you out of the 
world, therefore the world hateth you." So 
speaks Christ of His Apostles. How run His 
words when applied to you ? " If ye be of the 
world, the world will love its own ; therefore ye 
are of the world, and I have not chosen you out 
of the world, because the world loveth you." Do 
not complain of the world's imputing to you more 
than is true ; those who live as the world give 
colour to those who think them of the world, and 
seem to form but one party with them. In pro- 
portion as you put off the yoke of Christ, so does 
the world by a sort of instinct recognize you, and 
think well of you accordingly. Its highest com- 
pliment is to tell you that you disbelieve. O, my 
brethren, there is an eternal enmity between the 
world and the Church. The Church declares by 
the mouth of an Apostle, " Whoso will be a 
friend of the world, becomes an enemy of God ;" 
and the world retorts, and calls the Church 
apostate, sorceress, Beelzebub, and Antichrist. 
She is the image and the mother of the predesti- 
nate, and, if you would be found among her chil- 
dren when you die, you must have part in her 
reproach while you live. Does not the world 


scoff at all that is glorious, all that is majestic, in 
our holy religion ? Does it not speak against the 
special creations of God's grace ? Does it not 
disbelieve the possibility of purity and chastity ? 
Does it not slander the profession of celibacy ? 
Does it not deny the virginity of Mary ? Does 
it not cast out her very name as evil ? Does it 
not scorn her as a dead woman, whom you know 
to be the Mother of all living, and the great 
Intercessor of the faithful ? Does it not ridicule 
the Saints ? Does it not make light of their 
relics ? Does it not despise the Sacraments ? 
Does it not blaspheme the awful Presence which 
dwells upon our altars, and mock bitterly and 
fiercely at our believing that what it calls bread 
and wine is that very same Body and Blood of the 
Lamb, which lay in Mary's womb and hung on 
the Cross ? What are we, that we should be 
better treated than our Lord, and His Mother, 
and His servants, and His works ? Nay, what 
are we, if we he better treated, but the friends 
of those who treat us well, and who ill-treat 

O, my dear brethren, be children of grace, not 
of nature ; be not seduced by this world's sophis- 
tries and assumptions ; it pretends to be the 
work of God, but in reality it comes of Satan. 
" I know My sheep," says our Lord, " and Mine 
know Me, and they follow Me." " Show me, O 



Thou whom my soul loveth," says the Bride in 
the Canticles, " where Thou feedest, where Thou 
restest at noon:" and He answers her, " Go 
forth, and follow after the steps of the flocks, and 
feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents." Let 
us follow the Saints, as they follow Christ ; so 
that, when He comes in judgment, and the 
wretched world sinks to perdition, " on us sin- 
ners, His servants, hoping in the multitude of 
His mercies. He may vouchsafe to bestow some 
portion and fellowship with His Holy Apostles 
and Martyrs, with John, Stephen, Matthias, Bar- 
nabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcelline, Peter, 
Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cicely, 
Anastasia, and all His Saints, not for the value of 
our merit, but according to the bounty of His 



When man was created, he was endowed withal 
with gifts above his own nature, by means of which 
that nature was perfected. As some potent sti- 
mulant which is not nourishment, a scent or a 
draught, rouses, invigorates, concentrates our ani- 
mal powers, gives keenness to our perceptions, 
and intensity to our eiforts, so, or rather in some 
far higher sense, and in more diversified ways, 
did the supernatural grace of God give a meaning, 
and an aim, and a sufficiency, and a consistency, 
and a certainty, to the many faculties of that com- 
pound of soul and body, which constitutes man. 
And when man fell, he lost this divine, unmerited 
gift, and, instead of soaring heavenwards, fell 
down feeble to the earth, in a state of exhaustion 
and collapse. And, again, when God, for Christ's 
sake, is about to restore any one to His favour. 


His first act of mercy is to impart to him a portion 
of this grace ; the first-fruits of that sovereign, 
energetic power, which forms and harmonizes his 
whole nature, and enables it to fulfil its own end, 
while it fulfils one higher than its own. 

Now, one of the defects which man incurred 
on the fall, was ignorance, or spiritual blindness ; 
and one of the gifts received on his restoration is 
a perception of things spiritual ; so that, before 
he is brought under the grace of Christ, he 
can but inquire, reason, argue, and conclude, 
about religious truth ; but afterwards he sees it. 
" Blessed art thou, Simon, son of Jona," said our 
Lord to St. Peter, when he confessed the Incar- 
nation, " for flesh and blood hath not revealed it 
to thee, but My Father, which is in heaven." " I 
thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
because Thou hast hid these things from the wise 
and prudent, and hath revealed them unto little 

ones No one knoweth the Son but the 

Father, and no one knoweth the Father, save the 
Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to 
reveal Him." In hke manner Si: Paul says, 
"The animal" or natural "man perceiveth not 
the things of the Spirit of God ;" and elsewhere, 
" No one can say the Lord Jesus, but in the Holy 
Ghost." And St. John, "Ye have an unction 
from the Holy One, and ye know all things." 
The Prophets had promised the same gift before 


Christ came ; — " I will make all thy sons taught 
of the Lord," says Isaias, " and the multitude of 
peace upon thy sons ;" "No more," says Jere- 
mias, " shall man teach his neighbour, and man 
his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall 
know Me from the least of them even to the 
greatest of them." 

Now here you may say, my brethren, " "What 
is the meaning of this ? are we men, or are we 
not ? have we lost part of our nature by the fall, 
or have we not ? is not the Reason a part of man's 
nature ? does not the Reason see, as the eye does ? 
cannot we, by the natural power of our Reason, 
understand all kinds of truths, about this earth, 
about human society, about the realms of space, 
about matter, about the soul ; why should religion 
be an exception? Why then cannot we understand 
by our natural reason about Almighty God and 
heaven ? — if we can inquire into one thing, we can 
inquire into another ; if we can imagine one thing, 
we can imagine another ; how then is it that we 
cannot arrive at the truths of religion without the 
supernatural aid of grace?" This is a question 
which may give rise to some profitable reflections, 
and I shall now attempt to answer it. 

You ask, what it is you need, besides eyes, in 
order to see the truths of revelation : I will tell 
you at once ; you need light. Not the keenest 
eyes can see in the dark. Now, though your 


mind be the eye, the grace of God is the light ; and 
you will as easily exercise your eyes in this sen- 
sible world without the sun, as you will be able to 
exercise your mind in the spiritual world without 
a parallel gift from without. Now you are bom 
under a privation of this blessed spiritual light ; 
and, while it remains, you will not, carmot, really 
see God. I do not say you will have no thought 
at all about God, nor be able to talk about Him, 
True, but you will not be able to do more than 
reason about Him. Your thoughts and your 
words will not get beyond a mere reasoning. I 
grant then what you claim ; you claim to be able 
by your mental powers to reason about God ; 
doubtless you can, but to infer a thing is not to 
see it in respect to the physical world, nor is it in 
the spiritual. 

Consider the case of a man without eyes talking 
about forms and colours, and you will understand 
what I mean. A blind man may pick up a good 
deal of information of various kinds, and be very 
conversant with the objects of sight, though he 
does not see. He may be able to talk about them 
fluently, and may be fond of doing so ; he may 
even talk of seeing as if he really saw, till he 
almost seems to pretend to the faculty of sight. 
He speaks of heights and distances, and direc- 
tions, and the dispositions of places, and shapes, 
and appearances, as naturally as other men ; and 


he is not duly aware of his own extreme privation ; 
and, if you ask how this comes about, it is partly 
because he hears what other men say about these 
things, and he is able to imitate them, and partly 
because he cannot help reasoning upon the things 
he hears and drawing conclusions from them; and 
thus he comes to tliink he knows what he does 
not know at all. 

He hears men converse ; he may have books 
read to him ; he gains vague ideas of objects of 
sight, and when he begins to speak, his words are 
tolerably correct, and do not at once betray how 
little he knows what he is talking about. He 
infers one thing from another, and thus is able to 
speak of many things which he does not see, 
but only perceives must be so, granting other 
things are so. For instance, if he knows that 
blue and yellow make green, he may pronounce, 
without a chance of mistake, that green is more 
like blue than yellow is ; if he happens to know 
that one man is under six feet in height, and 
another is full six feet, he may, when they are 
both before him, boldly declare, as if he saw, that 
the latter is the taller of the two. It is not that 
he judges by sight, but that reason takes the 
place of it. There was much talk in the world 
some little time since of a man of science, who 
was said to have found out a new planet ; how 
did he do it ? did he watch night after night, 


wearily and perseveringly, in the chill air, through 
the tedious course of the starry heavens, for what 
he might possibly find there, till at length, by 
means of some powerful glass, he discovered in 
the dim distance this unexpected addition to our 
planetary system ? Far from it ; it is said, that 
he sat at his ease in his library, and made calcula- 
tions on paper in the daytime, and thus, without 
looking once up at the sky, he determined, from 
what was already known of the sun and the 
planets, of their number, their positions, their 
motions, and their influences, that, in addition to 
them all, there must be some other body in that 
very place where he said it would be found, if 
astronomers did but turn their instruments upon 
it. Here was a man reading the heavens, not 
with eyes, but by reason. Reason then is a sort 
of substitute for sight ; and so in many respects 
are the other senses, as is obvious. You know 
how quick the blind are often found to be in dis- 
covering the presence of friends, and the feelings 
of strangers, by the voice, and the tone, and the 
tread ; so that they seem to understand looks, 
and gestures, and dumb show as if they saw, to 
the surprise of those who wish to keep their 
meaning secret from them. 

Now this will explain the way in which the 
natural man is able partly to understand, and 
still more to speak upon, supernatural subjects. 



There is a large floating body of Catholic truth 
in the world ; it comes down by tradition from 
age to age ; it is carried forward by preaching 
and profession from one generation to another, 
and is poured about into all quarters of the world. 
It is found in fulness and purity in the Church 
alone, but portions of it, larger or smaller, escape 
far and wide, and penetrate into places which have 
never been blest with her presence and ministra- 
tion. Now men may take up and profess these 
scattered truths, merely because they fall in with 
them ; these fragments of revelation, such as the 
doctrine of the Holy Trinity, or the Atonement, 
are the religion which they have been taught in 
their childhood ; and therefore they retain them, 
and profess them, and repeat them, without really 
seeing them, as the Catholic sees them, but as 
receiving them merely by word of mouth, from 
imitation of others. And in this way it often hap- 
pens that a man external to the Catholic Church 
writes sermons and instructions, draws up and 
arranges devotions, or composes hymns, which are 
faultless, or nearly so, which are the fruit, not of 
his own illuminated mind, but of his careful 
study, sometimes of his accurate translation, of 
Catholic originals. Then again Catholic truths 
and rites are so beautiful, so great, so consolatory, 
that they draw one on to love and admire them 
with a natural love, as a prospect might attract 


US, or a skilful piece of mechanism. Hence men 
of lively imagination profess this doctrine or that, 
or adopt this or that ceremony or usage, for its 
very beauty-sake, not asking themselves whe- 
ther it be true, and having no real perception or 
mental hold of it. Thus too they will decorate 
their churches, stretch and strain their ritual, 
introduce candles, vestments, flowers, incense, 
and processions, not from faith, but from poetical 
feeling. And morever the Catholic Creed, as 
coming from God, is so harmonious, so consistent 
with itself, holds together so perfectly, so corre- 
sponds part to part, that an acute mind, knowing 
one portion of it, would often infer another por- 
tion, merely as a matter of just reasoning. Thus 
a correct thinker might be sure, that if God is 
infinite and man finite, there must be mysteries in 
religion. It is not that he really feels the mys- 
teriousness of religion, but he infers it ; he is led 
to it as a matter of necessity, and from mere 
clearness of mind and love of consistency, he 
maintains it. Again, a man may say, " Since this 
or that doctrine has so much evidence in its 
favour, of course I must accept it ;" he has no 
real sight or direct perception of it, but he takes 
up the profession of it, because he feels it would 
be absurd, under the conditions with which he 
starts, to do otherwise. He does no more than 


load himself with a form of words, instead of con- 
templating, with the eye of the soul, God Him- 
self, the Source of all truth, and this doctrine as 
proceeding from His mouth. A keen sagacious 
intellect will carry a man a great way in anticipat- 
ing doctrines which he has never been told ; — 
thus, before it knew what Scripture said on the 
subject, it might argue ; " Sin is an offence 
against God beyond conception great, and involv- 
ing vast evils on the sinner, for, if it were not so, 
why should Christ have suffered ?" that is, he 
sees that it is necessary for the Christian system 
of doctrine that sin should be a great evil, without 
necessarily feeling in his conscience that it is sc. 
Nay, I can fancy a man conjecturing that our 
bodies would rise again, as arguing it out from 
the fact that the Eternal God has so honoured 
our mortal flesh as to take it upon Him as part of 
Himself. Thus he would be receiving the resur- 
rection or eternal punishment merely as truths 
which follow from what he knew already. And 
in like manner learned men, outside the Church, 
may compose most useful works on the evidences 
of religion, or in defence of particular doctrines, 
or in explanation of the whole scheme of Catho- 
licism ; in these cases reason becomes the hand- 
maid of faith : still it is not faith ; it does not 
rise above an intellectual view or notion j it 


affirms, not as grasping the truth, not as seeing, 
but as "being of opinion," as "judging," as 
" coming to a conclusion." 

Here then you see what the natural man can 
do ; he can feel, he can imagine, he can admire, 
he can reason, he can infer ; in all these ways he 
may proceed to receive the whole or part of 
Catholic truth ; but he cannot see, he cannot 
love. Yet he will perplex religious persons, who 
do not understand the secret by which he is able 
to make so imposing a display ; for they will be at 
a loss to understand how it is he is able to speak 
so well, except he speak, though he be out of the 
Church, by the Spirit of God. Thus it is with 
the writings of some of the ancient heretics, who 
wrote upon the Incarnation ; so it is with heretics 
of modern times who have written on the doctrine 
of grace ; they write sometimes with such beauty 
and depth, that one cannot help admiring what 
they say on those very subjects, as to which we 
know withal that at the bottom they are unsound. 
But, my brethren, the sentiments may be right 
and good in themselves, but not in them ; these 
are the solitary truths which they have happened 
to infer in a range of matters about which they 
see and know nothing, and their heresy on other 
points, close upon their acceptance of these truths, 
is a proof that they do not see what they speak 
of. A blind man, discoursing upon form and 


colour, might say some things truly, and some 
ihings falsely ; but even one mistake which he 
happened to make, though only one, would be 
enough to betray that he had no real possession of 
the truths which he enunciated, though they were 
many ; for, had he had eyes, he not only would 
have been correct in many, but would have been 
mistaken in none. For instance, supposing that 
he knew that two buildings were the same in 
height, he might perhaps be led boldly to pro- 
nounce that their appearance was the same when 
he looked at them, not knowing that the greater 
distance of the one of them from us might reduce 
it to the eye to a half or a fourth of the other. 
And thus men who are not in the Church, and 
who have no practical experience of Catholic devo- 
tion to the Blessed Mother of God, when they read 
our prayers and litanies, and observe the strength 
of their language, and the length to which they 
go, confidently assert that she is, in every sense 
and way, the object of our worship, to the exclu- 
sion, or in rivalry, of the Supreme God ; not 
understanding that He " in whom we live, and 
move, and are," who new-creates us with His 
grace, and who feeds us with His own Body and 
Blood, is closer to us and more intimately with 
us than any creature ; that Saints and Angels, 
and the Blessed Virgin herself, are necessarily at 
a distance from us, compared with Him, and, that 


whatever language we use towards them, though 
our words were the same as those which we used 
to our Maker, they would only carry with them a 
sense which is due and proportionate to the object 
we address. And thus these objectors are detected 
by their objection itself, as knowing and seeing 
nothing of what they dispute about. 

And now I have explained sufficiently what is 
meant by saying that the natural man holds divine 
truths merely as an opinion, and not as a point of 
faith ; grace believes, reason does but think ; grace 
gives certainty, reason is never decided. Now it 
is remarkable that this characteristic of reason is 
so clearly understood by the persons themselves 
of whom J am speaking, that, in spite of the 
confidence which they have in their own opinions, 
whatever that be, still, conscious that they have 
no grounds for real and fixed conviction about 
revealed truth, they boldly face the difficulty, and 
consider it a fault to be certain about revealed 
truth, and a merit to doubt. For instance, " the 
Holy Catholic Church" is a point of faith ; as 
being one of the articles of the Apostles' Creed ; 
yet they think it an impatience to be dissatisfied 
with uncertainty as to where the Catholic Church 
is, and what she says. They are well aware that 
no man alive of fair abilities would put undoubt- 
ing faith and reliance in the Church Established, 
except by doing violence to his reason ; they know 


that the great mass of its members in do sense 
beheve in it, and that of the remainder no one 
could say more than that it indirectly comes from 
God, and that it is safest to remain in it. There 
is, in these persons, no faith, only a mere opinion, 
about this article of the Creed. Accordingly they 
are obliged to say, in mere defence of their own 
position, that faith is not necessary, and a state of 
doubt is sufficient, and all that is expected of us. In 
consequence they attribute it to mere restlessness, 
when one of their own members seeks to exercise 
faith in the Holy Catholic Church as a revealed 
truth, as they themselves profess to exercise it in 
the Holy Trinity or our Lord's resurrection, and 
when in consequence he hunts about, a«d asks on 
all sides, how he is to do so. Nay, they go so 
far as to impute it to a Catholic as a fault, when 
he manifests a simple trust in the Church and 
her teaching. It sometimes happens that those 
who join the Catholic Church from some Protes- 
tant communion, are observed to change the 
uncertainty and hesitation of mind on religious 
subjects, which they showed before their conver- 
sion, into a clear and fearless confidence ; they 
doubted about their old communion, they have no 
doubt about their new. They have no fears, no 
anxieties, no difficulties, no scruples. They speak, 
accordingly, as they feel ; and the w^orld not 
understanding that this is the effect of the grace 


which (as we may humbly trust) these happy 
souls have received, not understanding that, 
though it has full experience of the region of the 
shadow of death in which it lies, it has none at all 
of that city, whereof the Lord God and the Lamb 
is the light, measuring what Catholics have by 
what itself has not, the world, I say, cries out, 
" How forward, how unnatural, how excited, how 
extravagant ;" and it considers that such a change 
is a change for the worse, and is proved to be 
a mistake and a fault, because it produces pre- 
cisely that effect which it would produce were 
it a change for the better. 

It tells us that certainty, and confidence, and 
boldness in speech, are unchristian ; is this plead- 
ing a cause, or a judgment from facts ? Was it 
confidence or doubt, was it zeal or coldness, was 
it keenness or irresolution in action, which distin- 
guished the-Martyrs in the first ages of the Church ? 
Was the religion of Christ propagated by the 
vehemence of faith and love, or by a philosophical 
balance of argument ? Look back at the early 
Martyrs, my brethren, what were they ? why, they 
were very commonly youths and maidens, soldiers 
and slaves ; — a set of hot-headed young men, who 
would have lived to be wise, had they not been 
obstinately set on dying first ; who tore down im- 
perial manifestos, broke the peace, challenged the 
judges to dispute, would not rest till they got into 


the same den with a lion, and, who, if chased out 
of one city, began preaching in another ! So said 
the bhnd world about those who saw the Unseen. 
Yes ! it was the spiritual sight of God which made 
them what they were. No one is a Martyr for a 
conclusion, no one is a Martyr for an opinion ; it 
is faith that makes Martyrs. He who knows and 
loves the things of God has no power to deny 
them ; he may have a natural shrinking from tor- 
ture and death, but such terror is incommensurate 
with faith, and as little acts upon it as dust and 
mire touches the sun's light, or scents or sights 
could stop a wheel in motion. The Martyrs saw, 
and how could they but speak what they had 
seen ? They might shudder at the pain, but they 
had not the power not to see ; if threats could 
undo the heavenly truths, then might it silence 
their confession of them. O my brethren, the 
world is inquiring, and large-minded, and knows 
many things ; it talks well and profoundly ; 
but is there one among its Babel of opinions w^hich 
it would be a Martyr for ? Some of them may 
be true, and some false ; let it choose any one of 
them to die for. Its children talk loudly, they 
declaim angrily against the doctrine that God is 
an avenger ; would they die rather than confess it ? 
They talk eloquently of the infinite indulgence of 
God ; would they die rather than deny it ? If 
not, they have not even enthusiasm, they have 


not even obstinacy, they have not even bigotry, 
they have have not even party spirit to sustain 
them, — much less have they grace ; they speak 
upon opinion only, and by an inference. Again, 
there are those who call on men to trust the 
Established Communion, as considering it to be a 
branch of the Catholic Church ; they may urge 
that this opinion can be cogently defended, but an 
opinion it is ; for say, O ye who hold it, how 
many of ye would die rather than doubt it ? Do 
you now hold it sinful to doubt it ? or rather, as 
I have already said, do you not think it allowable, 
natural, necessary, becoming, humble-minded and 
sober-minded to doubt it ? do you not almost think 
better of a man for doubting it, provided he does 
not follow his doubts out, and end in disbelieving 

Hence these very same persons, who speak so 
severely of any one who leaves the communion 
in which he was born, doubting of it themselves, 
are in consequence led to view his act as an 
affront done to their body, rather than as an evil 
to himself They consider it as a personal affront 
to a party and an injury to a cause, and the affront 
is greater or less according to the mischief which 
it does them in the particular case. It is not his 
loss but their inconvenience, which is the real 
measure of his sin. If a person is in any way 
important or useful to them, they will protest 


against his act ; if he is troublesome to them, if 
he goes (as they say) too far, if he is a scandal, or 
a centre of perverse influence, or in any way dis- 
turbs the order and welfare of their body, they 
are easily reconciled to his proceeding ; the more 
courteous of them congratulate him on his honesty, 
and the more bitter congratulate themselves on 
being rid of him. Is such the feeling of a mother 
and of kinsmen towards a son and a brother ? " can 
a woman forget her babe, that she should not 
have compassion on the son of her womb ?" Did 
a man leave the Cathohc Church, our first feeling, 
my brethren, as you know so well, would be one 
of compassion and fear ; we should consider that 
though we were even losing one who was a scandal 
to us, still that our gain would be nothing in com- 
parison to his loss. We know that a man cannot 
desert the Church without quenching an inestim- 
able gift of grace ; that he has already received a 
definite influence and effect upon his soul such, 
that he cannot dispossess himself of it without the 
gravest sin ; that, though he may have had many 
temptations to disbelieve, they are only like 
temptations to sensuality, harmless without his 
willing co-operation. This is why the Church can- 
not sanction him in reconsidering the question of 
her own divine mission ; because such inquiries, 
though the appointed means of entering her pale, 
are superseded on his entrance by the gift of a 



spiritual sight, a gift which consumes doubt so 
utterly, in any proper sense of the word, that 
henceforth it is not that he must not, but that he 
cannot entertain it ; cannot entertain it except by 
his own great culpability ; and therefore must 
not, because he cannot. This is what we hold, 
and are conscious of, my brethren ; and, as hold- 
ing it, we never could feel satisfaction and relief, 
on first hearing of the defection of a brother, be 
he ever so unworthy, ever so scandalous ; our 
first feeling would be sorrow. We are in fact 
often obliged to bear with scandalous members 
against our will, from charity to them ; but those, 
whose highest belief is but an inference, who are 
obliged to go over in their minds from time to 
time the reasons and the ground of their creed, 
lest they should suddenly find themselves left 
without their conclusion, these persons not having 
faith, have no opportunity for charity, and think 
that when a man leaves them who has given them 
any trouble, it is a double gain, to him that he is 
where he is better fitted to be, to themselves that 
they are at peace. 

What I have been saying will account for 
another thing, which otherwise will surprise us. 
The world cannot believe that Catholics really 
hold what they profess to hold ; and supposes that, 
if they are educated men, they are kept up to 
their profession by external influence, by super^ 


stitious fear, by pride, by interest, or other bad or 
unworthy motive. Men of the world have never 
believed in their whole life, never have had simple 
faith in things unseen, never have had more than 
an opinion about them, that they might be true 
and might be false, but probably were true, or 
doubtless were true ; and in consequence they 
think an absolute, unhesitating faith in anything 
unseen to be simply an extravagance, and 
especially when it is exercised on objects which 
they do not believe themselves, or even reject 
with scorn or abhorrence. And hence they pro- 
phesy that the Catholic Church must fall, in pro- 
portion as men are directed to the sober examina- 
tion of their own thoughts and feelings, and to the 
separation of what is real and true from what is a 
matter of words and pretence. They cannot 
understand how our faith in the Blessed Sacra- 
ment is a genuine living portion of our minds ; 
they think it a mere profession which we embrace 
with no inward assent, but only because we are 
told that we shall be lost unless we profess it ; or 
because, the Catholic Church having in dark ages 
committed herself to it, we cannot help ourselves, 
though we would, if we could, and therefore 
receive it by constraint, from a sense of duty to- 
wards our cause, or in a spirit of party. They 
will not believe but what we would gladly get rid 
of the doctrine of transubstantiation, as a heavy 


stone about our necks, if we could. What shock- 
ing words to use ! It would be wTong to use them, 
were they not necessary to make you understand, 
my brethren, the privilege which you have, and 
the world has not. Shocking indeed and most 
profane ! a relief to rid ourselves of the doctrine 
that Jesus is on our Altars ! as well say a relief 
to rid ourselves of the belief that Jesus is God ; 
to rid ourselves of the belief that there is a 
God. Yes, that I suppose is the true relief, to 
believe nothing at all, or, at least, not to be 
bound to believe any thing ; to believe first one 
thing, then another, to believe what we please 
for as long as we please ; that is, not to be- 
lieve, but to have an opinion about everything, 
and let nothing sit close upon us, to commit our- 
selves to nothing, to keep the unseen world alto- 
gether at a distance. But if we are to believe 
any thing at all, if we are to make any one 
heavenly doctrine our own, if we are to take some 
propositions or dogmas as true, why it should 
be a burden to believe what is so gracious, 
and what so concerns us, rather than what is less 
intimate and less winning, why we must not believe 
that God is among us, if God there is, why we may 
not believe that God dwells on our Altars as well 
as that He dwells in the sky, certainly is not so 
self-evident, but that we have a claim to ask the 
reasons for it of those, who profess to be so rational 


and so natural in all their determinations. O, my 
brethren, how narrow-minded is this world at 
bottom after all, in spite of its pretences and in 
spite of appearances ! Here you see, it cannot 
by a stretch of imagination conceive that any thing 
exists, of which it has not cognizance in its own 
heart ; it will not admit into its imagination the 
mere idea that we have faith, because it does not 
know what faith is from experience, and it will 
not admit that there is anything in the mind of 
man which it does not experience itself, for that 
would be all one with admitting after all that 
there is such a thing as a mystery. It must know, 
it must be the measure of all things ; and so in 
self-defence it considers us hypocritical, as profess- 
ing what we cannot believe, lest it should be forced 
to confess itself blind. " Behold what manner of 
charity the Father had bestowed on us, that we 
should be named, and should be, the sons of God ; 
therefore the world knoweth not us, because it 
knoweth not Him !" 

It is for the same reason that inquirers, who are 
approaching the Church, find it so difficult to per- 
suade themselves that their doubts will not continue 
after they have entered it. This is the reason they 
assign for not becoming Catholics ; for what is to 
become of them, they ask, if their present doubts 
continue after their conversion ? they will have 
nothing to fall back upon. They do not reflect 


that their present difficulties are moral ones, not 
intellectual ; — I mean, that it is not that they 
really doubt whether the conclusion at which 
they have arrived, that the Catholic Church 
comes from God, is true ; this they do not doubt 
in their reason at all, but their mind is too feeble 
and dull to grasp and keep hold of this truth. 
They recognize it dimly, though certainly, as the 
sun through mists and clouds, and they forget 
that it is the office of grace to clear up gloom 
and haziness, to steady that fitful vision, to per- 
fect reason by faith, and to convert a logical 
conclusion into an object of intellectual sight. 
And thus they will not credit it as possible, when 
we assure them, of what we have seen in so 
many instances, that all their trouble will go, 
when once they have entered the communion of 
Saints, and the atmosphere of grace and light, 
and that they will be so full of peace and joy as 
not to know how to thank God enough, and from 
the very force of their feelings and the necessity 
of relieving them, they will set about convert- 
ing others with a sudden zeal which contrasts 
strangely with their late vacillation. 

Two remarks I must add in conclusion, in ex- 
planation of w^hat I have been saying. 

First, do not suppose I have been speaking in 
disparagement of human reason : it is the way to 
faith ; its conclusions are often the very objects 



of faith. It precedes faith, when souls are con- 
verted to the CathoHc Church ; and it is the in- 
strument which the Church herself is guided to 
make use of, when she is called upon to put forth 
those definitions of doctrine, in which, according to 
the promise and power of her Lord and Saviour, she 
is infallible ; but still reason is one thing and faith 
is another, and reason can as little be made a sub- 
stitute for faith, as faith can be made a substitute 
for reason. 

Again, I have been speaking as if a state of 
nature were utterly destitute of the influences of 
grace, and as if those who are external to the 
Church acted simply from nature. I have so 
spoken for the sake of distinctness, that grace 
and nature might clearly be contrasted with each 
other ; but it is not the case in fact. God gives 
His grace to all men, and to those who profit by it 
He gives more grace, and even those who quench 
it still have the offer. Hence some men act simply 
from nature ; some act from nature in some res- 
pects, not in others ; others are yielding themselves 
to the guidance of the assistances given them ; 
others, who have faithfully availed themselves of that 
guidance and are sincerely in search of the Church 
and her gifts, may even already be in a state of 
justification. Hence it is impossible to apply 
what has been said above to individuals, whose 
hearts are a secret with God. Many, I repeat, are 


under the influence partly of reason and partly of 
faith, believe some things firmly, and have but an 
opinion on others. Many are in conflict with 
themselves, and are advancing to a crisis, after 
which they embrace or recede from the truth. 
Many are using the assistances of grace so well, 
that they are in the way to receive its permanent 
indwelling in their hearts. Many, we may trust, 
are enjoying that permanent light, and are being 
securely brought forward into the Church ; some, 
alas ! may have received it, and, as not advancing 
towards the Holy House in which it is stored, are 
losing it, and, though they know it not, are living 
only by the recollections of what was once present 
within them. These are secret things with God ; 
but the great and general truths remain, that 
nature cannot see God, and that grace is the sole 
means of seeing Him ; and that, while it enables 
us to do so, it also brings us into His Church, and 
is never given us for our illumination, but it is 
also given to make us Catholics. 

O, my dear brethren, what joy and what thank- 
fulness should be ours, that God has brought us 
into the Church of His Son ! What gift is equal 
to it in the whole world in its preciousness and in 
its rarity ? In this country in particular, where 
heresy ranges far and wide, where uncultivated 
nature has so undisputed a field all her own, 
where grace is given to such numbers only to be 


profaned and quenched, where baptisms only- 
remain in their impress and character, and faith is 
ridiculed for its very firmness, for us to find our- 
selves here in the region of light, in the home of 
peace, in the presence of Saints, to find ourselves 
where we can use every faculty of the mind and 
afifection of the heart in its perfection because in 
its appointed place and office, to find ourselves in 
the possession of certainty, consistency, stability, 
on the highest and holiest subjects of human 
thought, to have hope here, and heaven hereafter, 
to be on the Mount with Christ, while the poor 
world is guessing and quarrelling at its foot, who 
among us shall not wonder at his own blessedness, 
who shall not be awe-struck at the inscrutable 
grace of God, which has brought him, not others, 
where he stands ? " Being justified by faith, let 
us have peace towards God through our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; by whom we have through faith 
access into this grace wherein we stand, and glory 
in the hope of the glory of the sons of God. And 
hope confoundeth not ; because the charity of 
God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy 
Ghost who is given to us." And as St. John 
says, still more exactly to our purpose, " Ye have 
an unction from the Holy One." Your eyes are 
anointed by Him who put clay on the eyes of 
the blind man ; " from Him have you an unction, 
and ye know," not conjecture, or suppose, or opine, 


but " know," see " all things." " So let the unc- 
tion which you have received of Him, abide in 
you. Nor need ye that any one teach you, but as 
His unction teaches you of all things, and is true 
and no lie, and hath taught you, so abide in Him." 
You can abide in nothing else ; opinions change ; 
conclusions are feeble ; inquiries run their course ; 
reason stops short ; but faith alone reaches to the 
end, faith only endures. Faith and prayer alone 
will endure in that last dark hour, when Satan 
urges all his powers and resources against the 
sinking soul. What will it avail* us then to have 
devised some subtle argument, or to have led some 
brilHant attack, or to have mapped out the field of 
history, or to have numbered and sorted the 
weapons of controversy, and to have the homage 
of friends and the respect of the world, for our 
successes, — what will it avail to have had a 
position, to have followed out a work, to have re- 
animated an idea, to have made a cause to triumph, 
if after all we have not the light of faith to guide 
us on from this world to the next ? O how fain 
shall we be in that day to exchange our place with 

* Te maris et terrse, numeroqne carentis arense 

Mensorem cohibent, Archyta, 

Pulveris exigui prope littus parva Matinum 

Munera ; uec quicquam tibi prodest 
Aerios tentasse domos, animoqiie rotundum 
Percurrisse polum, morituro ! 


the humblest, and dullest, and most ignorant of 
the sons of men, rather than to stand before the 
judgment-seat in the lot of him who has received 
great gifts from God, and used them for self and 
for man,' who has shut his eyes, who has trifled 
with truth, who has repressed his misgivings, who 
has been led on by God's grace but stopped short 
of its scope, who has neared the land of promise, 
yet not gone forward to take possession of it ! 



When we consider the beauty, the majesty, the 
completeness, the resources, the consolations, of 
the Catholic Religion, it may strike us with won- 
der, my brethren, that it does not convert the 
multitude of those who come in its way. Perhaps 
you have felt this surprise yourselves ; especially 
those of you who have been recently converted, 
and can compare it, from experience, with those 
religions which the millions of this country choose 
instead of it. You know, from experience, how 
barren, unmeaning, and baseless those religions 
are ; what poor attractions they have, and how 
little they have to say for themselves. Multitudes 
indeed are of no religion at all ; and you may not 
be surprised that those who cannot even bear 
the thought of God, should not feel drawn to 
His Church ; numbers too hear very little about 


Catholicism, or a great deal of abuse and calumny 
against it, and you may not be surprised that they 
do not all at once become Catholic ; but what 
may fairly surprise those who enjoy the fulness of 
Catholic blessings is, that those who see the 
Church ever so distantly, who see even gleams 
or the faint lustre of her majesty, nevertheless 
should not be so far attracted by what they see as 
to seek to see more, — should not at least put 
themselves in the way to be led on to the Truth, 
which of course is not ordinarily recognized in its 
divine authority except by degrees. Moses, when 
he saw the burning bush, turned aside to see 
" that great sight ;" Nathanael, though he thought 
no good could come out of Nazareth, at least 
followed Philip to Christ, when Philip said to 
him, " Come and see ;" but the multitudes about 
us see and hear, in some measure, surely, — many 
in ample measure, — and yet are not persuaded 
thereby to see and hear more, are not moved to 
act upon their knowledge. Seeing they see not, 
and hearing they hear not ; they are contented 
to remain as they are ; they are not drawn to in- 
quire, or at least not drawn on to embrace. 

Many explanations may be given of this diffi- 
culty ; I will proceed to suggest to you one, 
which will sound like a truism, but yet has a 
meaning in it. Men do not become Catholics, 
because they have not faith. Now you may ask 


me, how this is saying more than that men do 
not beheve the CathoHc Church because they do 
not believe it ; which is saying nothing at all. 
Our Lord, for instance, says, " He who cometh to 
Me shall not hunger, and he who believeth in Me 
shall never thirst ;" — to believe then and to come 
are the same thing. If they had faith, of course 
they would join the Church, for the very meaning, 
the very exercise of faith, is joining the Church. 
But I mean something more than this : faith is a 
state of mind, it is a particular mode of thinking 
and acting, which is exercised, always indeed 
towards God, but in very various ways. Now I 
mean to say, that the multitude of men in this 
country have not this habit or character of mind. 
We could conceive, for instance, their believing in 
their own religions, even if they did not believe in 
the Church ; this would be faith, though a faith 
improperly directed ; but they do not believe 
even their own rehgions ; they do not believe in 
anything at all. It is a definite defect in their 
minds : as we might say that a person had not 
the virtue of meekness, or of liberality, or of pru- 
dence, quite independently of this or that exercise 
of the virtue, so there is such a virtue as faith, 
and there is such a defect as the absence of it. 
Now I mean to say that the great mass of men in 
this country have not this particular virtue called 
faith, have not this virtue at all. As a man 

L 2 


might be without eyes or without hands, so they 
are without faith ; it is a distinct want or fault in 
their soul ; and what I say is, that since they 
have not this faculty of believing, no wonder they 
do not embrace that, which cannot really be em- 
braced without it. They do not believe anything 
at all in any true sense ; and therefore they do 
not believe the Church in particular. 

Now in the first place what is faith ? it is as- 
senting to a doctrine as true, which we do not 
see, which we cannot prove, because God says it 
is true, who cannot lie. And further than this, 
since God says it is true, not with His own voice, 
but by the voice of His messengers, it is assenting 
to whal man says, not simply viewed as a man, 
but to what he is commissioned to declare, as a 
messenger, prophet, or ambassador from God. In 
the ordinary course of this world we account 
things true either because we see them, or be- 
cause we can perceive that they follow and are 
deducible from what we do see ; that is, we gain 
truth by sight or by reason, not by faith. You 
will say indeed, that we accept a number of things 
which we cannot prove or see, on the word of 
others ; certainly ; but then we accept what they 
say only as the word of man ; and we have not 
commonly that absolute and unreserved confi- 
dence in them, which nothing can shake. We 
know that man is open to mistake, and we are 


always glad to find some confirmation of what he 
says, from other quarters, in any important matter ; 
or we receive his information with negligence and 
unconcern, as something of little consequence, as 
a matter of opinion ; or, if we act upon it, it is as 
a matter of prudence, thinking it best and safest 
to do so. We take his word for what it is worth, 
and we use it according to our necessity, or its 
probabihty. We keep the decision in our own 
hands, and reserve to ourselves the right of re- 
opening the question whenever we please. This 
is very different from divine faith ; he who be- 
lieves that God is true, and that this is His word, 
which He has committed to man, has no doubt 
at all. He is as certain that the doctrine taught 
is true, as that God is true ; and he is certain, 
because God is true, because God has spoken, not 
because he sees its truth or can prove its truth. 
That is, faith has two peculiarities ; — it is most 
certain, decided, positive, immoveable in its assent, 
and it gives this assent not because it sees with 
eye, or sees with the reason, but because it receives 
the tidings from one who comes from God. 

This is what faith was in the time of the 
Apostles, as no one can deny, and what it was 
then, it must be now ; else it ceases to be the 
same thing. I say, it certainly was this in the 
Apostles' time, for you know they preached to 
the world that Christ was the Son of God, that 


He was born of a Virgin, that He had ascended 
on high, that He would come again to judge all, 
the living and the dead. Could the world see all 
this ? could it prove it ? how then were men to 
receive it ? why did so many embrace it ? on the 
word of the Apostles, who were, as their powers 
showed, messengers from God. Men were told 
to submit their reason to a living authority. 
Moreover whatever an Apostle said, his converts 
were bound to believe ; when they entered the 
Church, they entered it in order to learn. The 
Church was their teacher ; they did not come to 
argue, to examine, to pick and choose, but to ac- 
cept whatever was put before them. No one 
doubts, no one can doubt this, of those primitive 
times. A Christian was bound to take without 
doubting all that the Apostles declared to be 
revealed ; if the Apostles spoke, he had to yield 
an internal assent of his mind ; it would not be 
enough to keep silence, it would not be enough 
not to oppose ; it was not allowable to credit in a 
measure ; it was not allowable to doubt. No ; if 
a convert had his own private thoughts of what 
was said, and only kept them to himself, if he 
made some secret opposition to the teaching, if he 
waited for further proof before he believed, it 
would be a proof that he did not think the 
Apostles were sent from God to reveal His will ; 
it would be a proof that he did not in any true 


sense believe at all. Immediate, implicit, submis- 
sion of the mind was, in the lifetime of the 
Apostles, the only, the necessary token of faith ; 
then there was no room whatever for what is now 
called private judgment. No one could say, "I 
will choose my religion for myself, I will believe 
this, I will not believe that ; I will pledge myself 
to nothing ; I will believe just as long as 1 please 
and no longer ; what I believe to-day I will reject 
to-morrow, if I choose. I will believe what the 
Apostles have as yet said, but I will not believe 
wdiat they shall say in time to come." No ; either 
the Apostles were from God, or they were not ; if 
they were, everything that they preached was to 
be believed by their hearers ; if they were not, 
there was nothing for their hearers to believe. To 
believe a little, to believe more or less, was impos- 
sible ; it contradicted the very notion of believing : 
if one part was to be believed, every part was to 
be believed ; it was an absurdity to believe one 
thing and not another ; for the word of the 
Apostles, which made the one true, made the 
other true too ; they were nothing in themselves, 
they were all things, they were an infallible 
authority, as coming from God. The world had 
either to become Christian, or to let it alone ; 
there was no room for private tastes and fancies, 
no room for private judgment. 

Now surely this is quite clear from the nature 


of the case ; but it is also clear from the words of 
Scripture. " We give thanks to God," says St. 
Paul, "without ceasing, because when ye had 
received from us the word of hearing, which is of 
God, ye received it, not as the word of men, but 
(as it is indeed) the word of God." Here you see 
St. Paul expresses what I have said above ; that 
the word comes from God, that it is spoken by 
men, that it must be received, not as man's word, 
but as God's word. So in another place he says, 
"He who despiseth these things, despiseth not 
man, but God, who hath also given in us His 
Holy Spirit." Our Saviour had made a like de- 
claration already, " He that heareth you, heareth 
Me ; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me ; 
and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that 
sent Me." Accordingly St. Peter on the day of 
Pentecost said, " Men of Israel, hear these words, 
God hath raised up this Jesus, whereof we are 
witnesses. Let all the house of Israel know 
most certainly that God hath made this Jesus, 
whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." 
At another time he said, " We ought to obey God, 
rather than man ; we are witnesses of these 
things, and so is the Holy Ghost., whom God 
hath given to all who obey Him." And again, 
" He commanded us to preach to the people, and 
to testify that it is He (Jesus) who hath been 
appointed by God to be the Judge of the living 


and of the dead." And you know that the con- 
tinual declaration of the first preachers was, 
" Beheve, and thou shalt be saved:" they do not 
say, " prove our doctrine by your own reason," 
nor "wait till you see, before you believe ;" but, 
" beheve without seeing and without proving, be- 
cause our word is not our own, but God's word." 
Men might indeed use their reason in inquiring 
into the pretensions of the Apostles ; they might 
inquire whether or not they did miracles ; they 
might inquire whether they were predicted in the 
Old Testament as coming from God ; but when 
they had ascertained this fairly in whatever way, 
they were to take all the Apostles said for granted 
without proof ; they were to exercise their faith, 
they were to be saved by hearing. Hence, as 
you perhaps observed, St. Paul significantly calls 
the revealed doctrine " the word of hearing," in 
the passage I quoted ; men came to hear, to 
accept, to obey, not to criticize what was said ; 
and in accordance with this he asks elsewhere, 
" How shall they believe Him, whom they have 
not heard? and how shall they hear without a 
preacher ? Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing 
by the word of Christ." 

Now, my dear brethren, consider, are not these 
two states or acts of mind quite distinct from each 
other ; — to believe simply what a living authority 
tells you ; and to take a book, such as Scripture, 


and to use it as you please, to master it, that is, to 
make yourself the master of it, to interpret it for 
yourselves, and to admit just what you choose to 
see in it, and nothing more? Are not these two 
procedures distinct in this, that in the former you 
submit, in the latter you judge ? At this moment 
I am not asking you which is the better, I am 
not asking whether this or that is practicable 
now, but are they not two ways of taking up a 
doctrine, and not one ? is not submission quite 
contrary to j udging ? Now, is it not certain that 
faith in the time of the Apostles consisted in sub- 
mitting ? and is it not certain that it did not 
consist in judging for oneself? It is in vain to 
say that the man who judges from the Apostles' 
writings, does submit to those writings in the first 
instance, and therefore has faith in them ; else 
why should he refer to them at all ? There is, I 
repeat, an essential difference between the act of 
submitting to a living oracle and to his book ; in 
the former case there is no appeal from the 
speaker, in the latter the final decision remains 
with the reader. Consider how different is the 
confidence with which you report another's words 
in his presence and in his absence. If he be 
absent, you boldly say that he holds so and so, or 
said so and so ; but let him come into the room 
in the midst of the conversation, and your tone is 
immediately changed. It is then, " I think I 


have heard you say something like this, or what I 
took to be tliis ;" or you modify considerably the 
statement or the fact to which you originally 
pledged him, dropping one-half of it for safety- 
sake, or retrenching the most startling portions of 
it ; and then after all you wait with some anxiety 
to see whether he will accept any portion of it at 
all. The same sort of process takes place in the 
case of the written document of a person now 
dead. I can fancy a man magisterially expound- 
ing St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians or to the 
Ephesians, who would be better content with the 
writer's absence than his sudden re- appearance 
among us ; lest the Apostle should take his own 
meaning out of his commentator's hands and 
explain it for himself In a word, though he says 
he has faith in St. Paul's writings, he confessedly 
has no faith in St. Paul ; and though he may 
speak much of Scripture truth, he has no wish at 
all to have been one of the Scripture Christians. 

I think I may assume that this virtue, which 
was exercised by the first Christians, is not known 
at all among Protestants now ; or at least if there 
are instances of it, it is exercised towards those, I 
mean their teachers and divines, who expressly 
disclaim that they are fit objects of it, and who 
exhort their people to judge for themselves Pro- 
testants, generally speaking, have not faith, in the 
primitive meaning of that word ; this is clear from 


what I have been saying, and here is a confirma- 
tion of it. If men believed now, as they did in 
the times of the Apostles, they could not doubt 
nor change. No one can doubt whether a word 
spoken by God is to be believed ; of course it is ; 
whereas any one, who is modest and humble, may 
easily be brought to doubt of his own inferences 
and deductions. Since men now-a-days deduce 
from Scripture, instead of believing a teacher, you 
may expect to see them waver about ; they will 
feel the force of their own deductions more 
strongly at one time than at another, they will 
change their minds about them, or perhaps deny 
them altogether ; whereas this cannot be, while a 
man has faith ; that is, belief that what a preacher 
says to him comes from God. This is what St. 
Paul especially insists on, telling us that Apostles, 
prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, are 
given us that " we may all attain to unity of 
faith," and, on the contrary, " that we be not as 
children tossed to and fro, and carried about by 
every gale of doctrine." Now, in matter of fact, 
do not men in this day change about in their reli- 
gious opinions without any limit ? is not this then 
a proof that they have not that faith which the 
Apostles demanded of their converts ? If they 
had faith, they would not change. Once believe 
that God has spoken, and you are sure He cannot 
unsay what He has already said ; He cannot de- 


ceive ; He cannot change ; you have received it 
once for all ; you will believe it ever. 

Such is the only rational, consistent account of 
faith ; but so far are Protestants from professing 
it, that they laugh at the very notion of it. They 
laugh at the notion itself of men pinning their 
faith (as they express themselves) upon Pope or 
Council ; they think it simply superstitious and 
narrow-minded, to profess to believe just what the 
Church believes, and to assent to whatever she 
shall say in time to come on matters of doctrine. 
That is, they laugh at the bare notion of doing 
what Christians undeniably did in the time of the 
Apostles. Observe, they do not merely ask 
whether the Catholic Church has a claim to 
teach, has authority, has the gifts ; — this is a 
reasonable question ;— no, they think that the 
very state of mind, which such a claim involves in 
those who admit it, namely, the disposition to accept 
without reserve or question, that this is slavish. 
They call it priestcraft to insist on this surrender 
of the reason, and superstition to oiFer it. That 
is, they quarrel with the very state of mind which 
all Christians had in the age of the Apostles ; 
nor is there any doubt, (who will deny it ?) that 
those who thus boast of not being led blindfold, 
of judging for themselves, of believing just as 
much and just as little as they please, of hating 
dictation, and so forth, would have found it an 


extreme difficulty to hang on the lips of the 
Apostles, had they lived at their date, or rather 
would have simply resisted the sacrifice of their 
own liberty of thought, would have thought life 
eternal too dearly purchased at such a price, and 
would have died in their unbelief. And they 
would have defended themselves on the plea that 
it was absurd and childish to ask them to believe 
without proof, to bid them give up their educa- 
tion, and their inteUigence, and their science, and, 
in spite of all those difficulties which reason and 
sense find in the Christian doctrine, in spite of its 
mysteriousness, its obscurity, its strangeness, its 
unacceptableness, its severity, to require them to 
surrender themselves to the teaching of a few 
unlettered Galilseans, or a learned indeed but 
fanatical Pharisee. This is what they would have 
said then ; and if so, is it wonderful they do not 
become Catholics now ? The simple account of 
their remaining as they are, is, that they lack one 
thing, — they have not faith ; it is a state of mind, 
it is a virtue, which they do not recognize to be 
praiseworthy, which they do not aim at possess- 

What they feel now, my brethren, is just what 
both Jew and Greek felt before them in the time 
of the Apostles, and what the natural man has 
felt ever since. The great and wise men of the 
day looked down upon faith then as now, as if it 


were unworthy the dignity of human nature, "See 
your vocation, brethren, that there are not" among 
you, " many are wise according to the flesh, not 
many mighty, not many noble ; but the foolish 
things of the world hath God chosen to confound 
the strong, and the mean things of the world, and 
the things that are contemptible, hath God chosen, 
and things that are not, that He might destroy the 
things that are, that no flesh might glory in His 
sight." Hence the same Apostle speaks of /'the 
foolishness of preaching." Similar to this is what 
our Lord had said in His prayer to the Father ; 
" I thank thee. Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
because Thou hast hid these things from the wise 
and prudent, and hast revealed them unto little 
ones." Now is it not plain that men of this day 
have just inherited the feelings and traditions of 
these falsely wise and fatally prudent persons in 
our Lord's day ? They have the same obstruc- 
tion in their hearts to entering the Catholic Church, 
which Pharisees and Sophists had before them ; it 
goes against them to believe her doctrine, not so 
much from want of evidence that she is from God, 
as because, if so, they shall have to submit their 
minds to living men, who have not their own cul- 
tivation or depth of intellect, and because they 
must receive a number of doctrines, whether they 
will or no, which are strange to their imagination 
and difficult to their reason. The very character 


of the Catholic teaching and of the Catholic 
teacher is to them a preliminary objection to their 
becoming Catholics, so great, as to throw into the 
shade any argument however strong, which is pro- 
ducible in behalf of tlie mission of those teachers 
and the origin of that teaching. In short, they 
have not faith. 

They have not in them the principle of faith ; 
and I repeat, it is nothing to the purpose to urge 
that at least they firmly believe Scripture^to be the 
word of God. In truth it is much to be feared 
that their acceptance of Scripture itself is nothing 
better than a prejudice or inveterate feeling im- 
pressed on them when they were children. A 
proof of it is this ; that, while they profess to be 
so shocked at Catholic miracles, and are not slow 
to call them " lying wonders," they have no diffi- 
culty at all about Scripture narratives, which are 
quite as difficult to the reason as any miracles 
recorded in the history of the Saints. I have 
heard on the contrary of Catholics, who h^ve been 
startled at first reading in Scripture the narrative 
of the ark in the deluge, of the tower of Babel, of 
Balaam and Balac, of the Israelites' flight from 
Egypt and entrance into the promised land, and 
of Esau's and Saul's rejection ; which the bulk of 
Protestants receive without any effort of mind. 
How do these Catholics receive them ? by faith. 
They say, " God is true, and every man a liar." 


How came Protestants so easily to receive them ? 
by faith ? I conceive that in most cases there is 
no submission of the reason at all ; simply they 
are so familiar with the passages in question, that 
the narrative presents no difficulties to their ima- 
gination ; they have nothing to overcome. If, how- 
ever, they are led to contemplate these passages in 
themselves, and to try them in the balance of pro- 
bability, and to begin to question about them, as 
will happen when their intellect is cultivated, then 
there is nothing to bring them back to their 
former habitual or mechanical belief ; they know 
nothing of submitting to authority, that is, they 
know nothing of faith ; for they have no authority 
to submit to. They either remain in a state of 
doubt without any great trouble of mind, or they 
go on to ripen into utter disbelief on the subjects 
in question, though they may say nothing about 
it. Neither before they doubt, nor when they 
doubt, is there any token of the presence in them 
of a power subjecting reason to the word of God. 
No ; what looks like faith, is a mere hereditary 
persuasion, not a personal principle : it is a 
feeling which they have learned in the nur- 
sery, which has never changed into any thing 
higher, and which is scattered and disappears, like 
a mist, before the light, such as it is, of reason. 
If, however, there are Protestants, who are not in 
one or other of these two states, either of credulity 


or of doubt, but who firmly believe in spite of all 
difficulties, they certainly have some claim to be 
considered under the influence of faith, but there 
is nothing to show that such persons, where they 
are found, are not in the way to become Catholics, 
and perhaps they are already called so by their 
friends, showing in their own examples the logical, 
indisputable connexion which exists between pos- 
sessing faith and joining the Church. 

If then faith be now the same faculty of mind, 
the same sort of habit or act, which it was in the 
days of the Apostles, I have made good what I 
set about showing. But it must be the same ; it 
cannot mean two things ; the word cannot have 
changed its meaning. Either say that faith is not 
necessary now at all, or take it to be what the 
Apostles meant by it, but do not say that you 
have it, and then show me something quite differ- 
ent, which you have put in the place of it. In the 
Apostles' days the peculiarity of faith was sub- 
mission to a living authority ; this is what made 
■it so distinctive ; this is what made it an act of 
submission at all ; this is what destroyed private 
judgment in matters of religion. If you will not 
look out for a living authority, and will bargain 
for private judgment, then say at once that you 
have not Apostolic faith. And in fact you have 
it not ; the bulk of this nation has it not ; confess 
you have it not ; and then confess that this is the 


reason why you are not Catholics. You are not 
Catholics because you have not faith. Why do 
not blind men see the sun ? because they have 
no eyes ; in like manner it is in vain to discourse 
upon the beauty, the sanctity, the sublimity of 
the Catholic doctrines and worship, where men 
have no faith to accept them as divine. They 
may confess their beauty, sublimity, and sanctity, 
without believing them ; they may acknowledge 
that the Cathohc rejigion is noble and majestic ; 
they may be struck with its wisdom, they may 
admire its adaptation to human nature, they may 
be penetrated by its tender and winning conduct, 
they may be awed by its consistency. But to 
commit themselves to it, that is another matter ; 
to choose it for their portion, to say with the 
favoured Moabitess, ^' Whithersoever thou shalt 
go, I will go ; and where thou shalt dwell, I 
will dwell ; thy people shall be my people, and 
thy God my God," this is the language of 
faith. A man may revere, a man may extol, who 
has no tendency whatever to obey, no notion 
whatever of professing. And this often happens 
in fact : men are respectful to the Catholic 
religion ; they acknowledge its services to man- 
kind, they encourage it and its professors ; they 
like to know them, they are interested in hearing 
of their movements, but they are not, and never 
will be Catholics. They will die, as they have 



lived, out of the Church, because they have not 
possessed themselves of that faculty by which 
the Church is to be approached. Cathohcs who 
have not studied them or human nature, will 
wonder they remain where they are; nay, they 
themselves, alas for them, will sometimes lament 
they cannot become Catholics. They will feel 
so intimately the blessedness of being a Catholic, 
that they will cry out, " O what would I give to 
be a Catholic ! O that I could believe what I 
admire ! but I do not, and I can no more believe 
merely because I wish to do so, than I can leap 
over a mountain. I should be much happier, 
were I a Catholic ; but I am not ; it is no use 
deceiving myself ; I am what I am ; I revere, I 
cannot accept." 

O deplorable state ! deplorable because it is 
utterly and absolutely their own fault, and be- 
cause such great stress is laid in Scripture, as 
they know, on the necessity of faith for salvation. 
Faith is there made the foundation and com- 
mencement of all acceptable obedience. It is 
described as the " argument " or " proof of things 
not seen ;" by faith men have understood that 
God is, that He made the world, that He is a 
rewarder of those who seek Him, that the flood 
was coming, that their Saviour was to be born. 
" Without faith it is impossible to please God ;" 
"by faith we stand ;" " by faith we walk ;" " by 


faith we overcome the world." When our Lord 
gave to the Apostles their commission to preach 
all over the world, He continued, " He that 
believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved ; but he 
that believeth not, shall be condemned." And 
He declared to Nicodemus, " He that believeth 
in the Son, is not judged ; but he that doth not 
believe is already judged, because he believeth 
not in the Name of the Only -begotten Son of 
God." He said to the Pharisees, " If you believe 
not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." To 
the Jews, " Ye believe not, because ye are not 
of My sheep." And you may recollect that 
before His miracles. He commonly demands faith 
of the supplicant ; " all things are possible," He 
says, " to him that beheveth ;" and we find in one 
place " He could not do any miracle," on account 
of the unbelief of the inhabitants. Has faith 
changed its meaning, or is it less necessary now ? 
Is it not still what it was in the Apostles' day, 
the very characteristic of Christianity, the special 
instrument of renovation, the first disposition for 
justification, one out of the three theological 
virtues ? God might have renewed us by other 
means, by sight, by reason, by love, but He has 
chosen to "purify our hearts by faith ;" it has 
been His will to select an instrument which the 
world despises, but which is of immense power. 
He preferred it, in His infinite wisdom, to every 


other ; and if men have it not, they have not the 
very element and rudiment, out of which are 
formed, on which are built, the Saints and Ser- 
vants of God. And they have it not, they are 
hving, they are dying, without the hopes, without 
the aids of the Gospel, because, in spite of so 
much that is good in them, in spite of their sense 
of duty, their tenderness of conscience on many 
points, their benevolence, their uprightness, their 
generosity, they are under the dominion (I must 
say it) of a proud fiend ; they have this stout 
spirit within them ; they will be their own masters 
in matters of thought, about which they know so 
little ; they consider their own reason better 
than any one's else ; they will not admit that 
any one comes from God who contradicts their 
own view of truth. What ! is none their equal 
in wisdom any where? is there none other 
whose word is to be taken on religion ? is there 
none to wrest from them their ultimate ap- 
peal to themselves ? Have they in no possible 
way the opportunity of faith ? Is it a vir- 
tue, which in consequence of their transcendent 
sagacity, their prerogative of omniscience, they 
must despair of exercising ? If the preten- 
sions of the Catholic Church do not satisfy 
them, let them go somewhere else, if they can. 
If they are so fastidious that they cannot trust her 
as the oracle of God, let them find another more 


certainly from Him than the House of His own 
institution, which has ever been called by His 
Name, has ever maintained the same claims, has 
ever taught one substance of doctrine, and has 
triumphed over those who preached any other. 
Since Apostolic faith was reliance on man's word as 
being God's, since what faith was in the beginning 
such it is now, since faith is necessary for salva- 
tion, let them attempt to exercise it towards 
another, if they will not accept the Bride of the 
Lamb. Let them, if they can, put faith in some 
of those religions which have lasted a whole two 
or three centuries in a comer of the earth. Let 
them stake their eternal prospects on kings, and 
nobles, and parliaments, and soldiery, let them 
take some mere fiction of the law, or abortion of 
the schools, or idol of a populace, or upstart of a 
crisis, or oracle of lecture rooms, as the prophet 
of God. Alas ! they are hardly bested if they 
must possess a virtue, which they have no means 
of exercising ; if they must make an act of faith, 
they know not on whom, and know not why ! 

What thanks ought we to render to Almighty 
God, my dear brethren, that He has made us what 
we are ! It is a matter of grace. There are, to 
be sure, many cogent arguments to lead one to 
join the Catholic Church, but they do not force 
the will. We may know them, and not be moved 
to act upon them. We may be convinced without 


being persuaded. The two things are quite 
distinct from each other, seeing you ought to 
believe, and believing ; reason, if left to itself, 
will bring you to the conclusion that you have 
sufficient grounds for believing, but belief is the 
gift of grace. You are then what you are, not 
from any excellence or merit of your own, but by 
the grace of God who has chosen you to believe. 
You might have been as the barbarian of Africa, 
or the free-thinker of Europe, with grace sufficient 
to condemn you, because it had not furthered 
your salvation. You might have had strong 
inspirations of grace and have resisted them, and 
then additional grace might not have been given 
to overcome your resistance. God gives not the 
same measure of grace to all ; has lie not visited 
you with over -abundant grace ? and was it not 
necessary for your hard hearts to receive more 
than other people ? Praise and bless him con- 
tinually for the benefit ; do not forget, as time 
goes on, that it is of grace ; do not pride your- 
selves upon it ; pray ever not to lose it ; and do 
your best to make others partakers of it. 

And you, my brethren also, if such be present, 
who are not as yet Catholics, but who by your 
coming hither seem to show your interest in our 
teaching, and your wish to know more about it, 
you too remember, that though you may not yet 
have faith in the Church, still God has brought 


you into the way of obtaining it. You are under 
the influence of His grace ; He has brought you 
a step on your journey ; He wishes to bring 
you further, He wishes to bestow on you the 
fulness of His blessings, and to make vou Catho- 
lies. You are still in your sins ; probably you 
are laden with the guilt of many years, the accu- 
mulated guilt of many a deep mortal offence, 
which no contrition has washed away, and to 
which no Sacrament has been applied. You at 
present are troubled with an uneasy conscience, a 
dissatisfied reason, an unclean heart, and a divided 
will ; you need to be converted. Yet now the 
first suggestions of grace are working in your 
soul, and are to issue in pardon for the past and 
sanctity for the future. God is moving you to 
acts of faith, hope, love, hatred of sin, repentance ; 
do not disappoint Him, do not thwart Him, 
concur with Him, obey Him. You look up, and 
you see, as it were, a great mountain to be scaled ; 
you say, how can I possibly find a path over these 
giant obstacles, which I find in the way of my 
becoming Catholic ? I do not comprehend this 
doctrine, and I am pained at that ; a third seems 
impossible ; I never can be familiar with one 
practice, I am afraid of another ; it is one maze 
and discomfort to me, and I am led to sink down 
in despair. Say not so, my dear brethren, look 
up in hope, trust in Him who calls you forward. 


" Who art thou, O great mountain, before Zoro- 
babel ? but a plain." He will lead you forward 
step by step, as He has led forward many a one 
before you. He will make the crooked straight 
and the rough plain. He will turn the streams, 
and dry up the rivers, which lie in your path. 
" He shall strengthen your feet like harts' feet, 
and set you up on high places. He shall widen 
your steps under you, and your tread shall not be 
weakened." " There is no God like the God of 
the righteous ; thy Helper is He that mounts the 
heaven ; by His mighty working the clouds dis- 
perse. His dwelling is above, and underneath 
are the everlasting arms ; He shall cast out the 
enemy from before thee, and shall say. Be brought 
to nought." " The young shall faint, and youths 
shall fall ; but they that hope in the Lord shall 
be new-fledged in strength, they shall take feathers 
like eagles, they shall run and not labour, they 
shall walk and not faint." 



Those who are drawn by curiosity or a better 
motive to inquire into the CathoHc ReHgion, 
sometimes put to us a strange question, — whe- 
ther, if they took up the profession of it, they 
would be at hberty, when they felt inclined, to 
reconsider the question of its divine authority, 
meaning, by " reconsideration" an inquiry spring- 
ing from doubt of it, and possibly ending in a 
denial. The same question, in the form of an 
objection, is often asked by those who have no 
thoughts at all of becoming Catholics, and who 
enlarge upon it, as something terrible, that who- 
ever once enters the pale of the Church, on him 
the door of egress is shut for ever ; that, once a 
Catholic, he never, never can doubt again ; that, 
whatever his misgivings may be, he must stifle 
them, nay must start from them as the sugges- 

M 2 


tions of the evil spirit ; in short, that he must give 
up altogether the search after truth, and do a vio- 
lence to his mind, which is nothing short of immoral. 
This is what is said, my brethren, by certain objec- 
tors, and their own view is, or ought to be, if they 
are consistent, this, — that it is a fault ever to make 
up our mind once for all on any religious subject 
whatever ; and that, however sacred a doctrine 
may be, and however evident to us, — let us say, 
for instance, the divinity of our Lord, or the 
existence of God, — v.e ought always to reserve 
to ourselves the liberty of doubting about it. I 
cannot help thinking that so extravagant a posi- 
tion, as this is, confutes itself; however, I will 
consider the contrary, that is, the Catholic, view 
of the subject, on its own merits, though without 
admitting the language in which it was just now 

It is then perfectly true, that the Church does 
not allow her children to entertain any doubt of 
her teaching ; and that, first of all, simply for this 
reason, because they are Catholics only while they 
have faith, and faith is incompatible with doubt. 
No one can be a Catholic without a simple faith, 
that what the Church declares in God's Name, 
is God's word, and therefore true. A man must 
simply believe that the Church is the oracle of 
God ; he must be as certain of her mission, as 
he is of the mission of the Apostles. Now, 


would any one ever call him certain that the 
Apostles came from God, if, after professing his 
certainty, he added, that, for what he knew, 
he might doubt one day about their mission ? 
Such an anticipation would be a real, though 
latent, doubt, betraying that he was not certain 
of it at present. A person who says, " I be- 
lieve just at this moment, but perhaps I am 
excited, without knowing it, and I cannot answer 
for myself, that I shall believe to-morrow," does 
not believe. A man who says, " Perhaps I am in 
a kind of delusion, which will one day pass away 
from me, and leave me as I was before ;" or, " I 
beheve as far as I can tell, but there may be argu- 
ments in the background which will change my 
view," such a man has not faith at all. When 
then Protestants quarrel with us for saying that 
those who join us must give up all ideas of ever 
doubting the Church in time to come, they do 
nothing else but quarrel with us for insisting on 
the necessity of faith in her. Let them speak 
plainly ; our offence is that of demanding faith 
in the Holy Catholic Church ; it is this, and 
nothing else. I must insist upon this : faith im- 
plies a confidence in a man's mind, that the thing 
believed is really true ; but, if it is true, it never 
can be false. If it is true that God became man, 
what is the meaning of my anticipating a time 
when perhaps I shall not believe that God became 


man ? this is nothing short of anticipating a time 
when I shall disbelieve a truth. And if I bargain 
to be alio wed in time to come not to believe, or to 
doubt, that God became man, I am asking to be 
allowed to doubt or to disbelieve what is an 
eternal truth. I do not see the privilege of such 
a permission at all, or the meaning of wishing to 
secure it : — if at present I have no doubt what- 
ever about it, then I am but asking leave to fall 
into error ; if at present I have doubts about it, 
then I do not believe it at present, that is, I have 
not faith. But 1 cannot really believe it now, 
and yet look forward to a time when perhaps 
I shall not believe it ; to make provision for 
future doubt, is to doubt at present. It proves 
I am not in a fit state to become a Catholic now. 
I may love by halves, I may obey by halves ; I 
cannot believe by halves : either I have faith, or 
I have it not. 

And so again, when a man has become a 
Catholic, were he to set about following out a 
doubt which has occurred to him, he has already 
disbelieved. / have not to warn him against 
losing his faith, he is not merely in danger of los- 
ing it, he has lost it ; from the nature of the case 
he has already lost it ; he fell from grace at the 
moment when he deliberately determined to pur- 
sue his doubt. No one can determine to doubt 
what he is sure of ; but if he is not sure that the 


Church is from God, he does not believe it. It 
is not I who forbid him to doubt ; he has taken 
the matter into his own hands, when he deter- 
mined on asking for leave ; he has begun, not 
ended in unbelief ; his wish, his purpose is his 
sin. I do not make it so, it is such from the very 
state of the case. You sometimes hear, for ex- 
ample, of Catholics falling away, who will tell you 
it arose from reading the Scriptures, which opened 
their eyes to the " unscripturalness," so they speak, 
of the Church of the Living God. No ; Scrip- 
ture did not make them disbelieve ; (impossible !) 
they disbelieved when they opened the Bible ; 
they opened it in an unbeHeving spirit, and for 
an unbelieving purpose ; they would not have 
opened it, had they not anticipated, — I might say, 
hoped, — that they should find things there incon- 
sistent with Catholic teaching. They begin in self- 
will and disobedience, and they end in apostasy. 
This then is the direct and obvious reason why 
the Church cannot allow her children the liberty 
of doubting the truth of her word. He who 
really believes in it now, cannot imagine the future 
discovery of reasons to shake his faith ; if he 
imagines it, he has not faith ; and that so many 
Protestants think it a sort of tyranny in the 
Church to forbid any children of hers to doubt 
about her teaching, only shows they do not know 
what faith is, — which is the case ; it is a strange 


idea to them. Let a man cease to examine, or 
cease to call himself her child. 

This is my first remark, and now I go on to a 
second. You may easily conceive, my brethren, 
that they who are entering the Church, or at 
least those who have entered it, have more than 
faith ; that they have some portion of divine love 
also. They have heard in the Church of the 
charity of Him who died for them, and who has 
given them His Sacraments as the means of con- 
veying the merits of His death to their souls, and 
they have felt more or less in those poor souls of 
theirs the beginnings of a responsive charity draw- 
ing them to Him. Now does it stand with a loving 
trust, better than with faith, for a man to anticipate 
the possibility of doubting or denying the great 
mercies in which he is rejoicing ? Take an in- 
stance ; what would you think of a friend whom 
you loved, who could bargain that, in spite of his 
present trust in you, he might be allowed some 
day to doubt you ? who, when a thought came 
into his mind, that you were playing a game with 
him, or that you were a knave, or a profligate, did 
not drive it from him with indignation, or laugh it 
away for its absurdity, but considered that he had 
an evident right to indulge it, nay, should be 
wanting in duty to himself, unless he did ? 
Would you think that your friend trifled with 
truth, that he was unjust to his reason, that he 


was wanting in manliness, that he was hurting his 
mind, if he shrank from it, or would you call him 
cruel and miserable if he did not ? For me, my 
brethren, if he took the latter course, may I never 
be intimate with so unpleasant a person ; suspicious, 
jealous minds, minds that keep at a distance from 
me, that insist on their rights, fall back on their 
own centre, are ever fancying offences, and are 
cold, censorious, wayward, and uncertain, these 
are often to be borne as a cross ; but give me for 
my friend one who will unite heart and hand 
with me, who will throw himself into my cause 
and interest, who will take my part when I am 
attacked, who will be sure beforehand that I am 
in the right, and, if he is critical, as he may have 
cause to be towards a being of sin and imperfec- 
tion, will be so from very love and loyalty, from 
anxiety that I should always show to advantage, 
and a wish that others should love me as heartily 
as he. I should not say a friend trusted me, who 
listened to every idle story against me ; and 1 
should like his absence better than his company, if 
he gravely told me that it was a duty he owed to 
himself to encourage his misgivings of my honour. 
Well, pass on to a higher subject ; — could a 
man be said to trust in God, and to love God, 
who was familiar with doubts whether there was 
a God at all, or who bargained that, just as often 
as he pleased, he might be at liberty to doubt 


whether God was good or just, or almighty ; and 
who maintained that, unless he did this, he was 
but a poor slave, that his mind was in bondage, 
and could render no free acceptable service to his 
Maker ; — that the very worship which God liked, 
was one attended with a caveat^ on the worship- 
per's part, that he did not promise to render it 
to-morrow, that he would not answer for himself 
that some argument might not come to light, 
which he had never heard before, which would 
make it a grave moral duty in him to suspend his 
judgment and his devotion ? Why, I should say, 
my brethren, that that man was worshipping his 
own mind, his own dear self, and not God ; that 
his idea of God was a mere accidental form which 
his thoughts took at this time or that, for a long 
period or a short one, as the case might be, not 
an image of the great Eternal Object, but a passing 
sentiment or imagination which meant notliing at 
all. I should say, and most men would agree 
with me, did they choose to give attention to the 
matter, that the person in question was a very 
self-conceited, self-wise man, and had neither love, 
nor faith, nor fear, nor any thing supernatural 
about him ; that his pride must be broken, and 
his heart new made, before he was capable of any 
religious act at all. The argument is the same, 
in its degree, when applied to the Church ; she 
comes to us, as a messenger from God, — how can 


any one who feels this, who comes to her, who 
falls at her feet as such, make a reserve, that he 
may be allowed to doubt her at some future day ? 
Let the world cry out, if it will, that his reason is 
in fetters ; let it pronounce that he is a bigot, if 
he does not reserve his right of doubting ; but 
he knows full well himself that he would be an 
ingrate and a fool, if he did. Fetters indeed ! 
yes, " the cords of Adam," the fetters of love, 
these are what bind him to the Holy Church ; he 
is, with the Apostle, the slave of Christ, the Lord 
of the Church ; united, never to part, as he trusts, 
while life lasts, to her Sacraments, to her Sacri- 
fices, to her Saints, to Mary her advocate, to 
Jesus, to God. 

The truth is, that the world, knowing nothing 
of the blessings of the Catholic faith, and pro- 
phesying nothing but ill concerning it, fancies 
that a convert, after the first fervour is over, 
feels nothing but disappointment, weariness, and 
ofi*ence in his new religion, and is secretly desi- 
rous of retracing his steps. This is at the root 
of the alarm and irritation which it manifests 
at hearing that doubts are incompatible with a 
Catholic's profession, because it is sure that 
doubts will come upon him, and then how pitiable 
will be his state ! That there can be peace and 
joy and knowledge and freedom and spiritual 
strength in the Church, is a thought far beyond 


its imagination ; for it regards her simply as a 
frightful conspiracy against the happiness of man, 
seducing her victims by specious professions, and, 
when they are once hers, caring nothing for the 
misery which breaks upon them, so that by any 
means she may detain them in "bondage. Ac- 
cordingly it conceives we are in perpetual warfare 
with our own reason, fierce objections ever rising 
within us, and we forcibly repressing them. It 
believes that, after the likeness of a vessel which 
has met with some accident at sea, we are ever 
baling out the water which rushes in upon us, 
and have hard work to keep afloat ; we just 
manage to linger on, either by an unnatural strain 
on our minds, or by turning them away from the 
subject of religion. The world disbelieves our 
doctrines itself, and cannot understand our own 
believing them. It considers them so strange, 
that it is quite sure, though we will not confess it, 
that we are haunted day and night with doubts, 
and tormented with the apprehension of yielding 
to them. I really do think, that in the world's 
judgment, one principal part of a confessor's 
work is the putting down such misgivings in his 
penitents. It fancies that the reason is ever 
rebelling, like the flesh ; that doubt, like concu- 
piscence, is elicited by every sight and sound, and 
that temptation insinuates itself in every page of 
letter-press and through the very voice of a 


Protestant polemic. When it sees a Catholic 
Priest, it looks hard at him, to make out how 
much there is in his composition of folly, and how 
much of hypocrisy. But, my dear brethren, if 
these are your thoughts, you are simply in error. 
Trust me, rather than the world, when I tell you, 
that it is no difficult thing for a Catholic to 
believe ; and that unless he grievously mis- 
manages himself, the difficult thing is for him to 
doubt. He has received a gift which makes faith 
easy ; it is not without an effort, a miserable 
effort, that any one who has received that gift, 
unlearns to believe. He does violence to his 
mind, not in exercising, but in withholding his 
faith. When objections occur to him, which 
they may easily do if he lives in the world, they 
are as odious and unwelcome to him as impure 
thoughts to the virtuous. He does certainly shrink 
from them, he flings them away from him, but 
why ? not in the first instance because they are 
dangerous, but because they are cruel and base. 
His loving Lord has done everything for him, 
and has He deserved such a return ? Popule 
mens, quid feci tibi ? " O My people, what 
have I done to thee, or in what have I molested 
thee ? answer thou Me. I brought thee out of 
the land of Egypt, and delivered thee out of the 
house of slaves ; and I sent before thy face 
Moses, and Aaron, and Mary ; I fenced thee in 


and planted thee with the choicest vines ; and 
what is there that I ought to do more to My 
vineyard that I have not done to it ?" He has 
poured on us His grace, He has been with us in 
our perplexities, He has led us on from one truth 
to another, He has forgiven us our sins. He has 
satisfied our reason. He has made faith easy. He 
has given us His Saints, He shows before us day 
by day His own Passion ; why should I leave 
Him ? What has He ever done to me but good? 
Why must I re-examine what I have examined 
once for all ? Why must I hsten to every idle 
word which flits past me against Him, on pain of 
being called a bigot and a slave, when I should 
be behaving to the Most High, as you yourselves, 
who so call me, would not behave towards a 
human friend or benefactor ? If I am convinced 
in my reason, and persuaded in my heart, why 
may I not be allowed to remain unmolested in 
my worship ? 

I have said enough on the subject ; still there 
is a third point of view in which it may be useful 
to consider it. Personal prudence is not the first 
or second ground for turning away from objec- 
tions to the Church, but a motive it is, and that 
from the peculiar nature of divine faith, which 
cannot be treated as an ordinary conviction or 
behef. Faith is the gift of God, and not a mere 
act of our own, which we are free to exert when 


we will. It is quite distinct from an exercise of 
reason, though it follows upon it. I may feel the 
force of the argument for the divine origin of the 
Church ; I may see that I ought to believe ; and 
yet I may be unable to believe. This is no 
imaginary case ; there is many a man who has 
groimd enough to believe, who wishes to believe, 
but who cannot believe. It is always indeed his 
own fault, for God gives grace to all who ask for 
it, and use it, but still such is the fact, that convic- 
tion is not faith. Take the parallel case of obe- 
dience ; many a man knows he ought to obey 
God, and does not and cannot, — through his own 
fault indeed, but still he cannot ; for through 
grace alone can he obey. Now faith is not a 
mere conviction in reason, it is a firm assent, it is 
a clear certainty greater than any other certainty ; 
and this is wrought in the mind by the grace of 
God, and by it alone. As then men may be con- 
vinced, and not act according to their conviction, 
so may they be convinced, and not believe accord- 
ing to their conviction. They may confess that 
the argument is against them, that they have 
nothing to say for themselves, and that to believe 
is to be happy ; and yet, after all, they avow they 
cannot believe, they do not know why, but they 
cannot ; they acquiesce in unbelief, and they turn 
away from God and His Church. Their reason 
is convinced, and their doubts are moral ones, 


arising in their root from a fault of the will. In 
a word, the arguments for religion do not compel 
any one to believe, just as arguments for good 
conduct do not compel any one to obey. Obe- 
dience is the consequence of willing to obey, and 
faith is the consequence of willing to believe ; we 
may see what is right, whether in matters of faith 
or obedience, of ourselves, but we cannot will 
what is right without the grace of God. Here is 
the difference between other exercises of reason, 
and arguments for the truth of religion. It re- 
quires no act of faith to assent to the truth that 
two and two make four ; we cannot help assenting 
to it ; and hence there is no merit in assenting to 
it ; but there is merit in believing that the Church 
is from God ; for though there are abundant rea- 
sons to prove it to us, yet we can, without an ab- 
surdity, quarrel with the conclusion ; we may 
complain that it is not clearer, we may suspend 
our assent, we may doubt about it, if we will, and 
grace .alone can turn a bad will into a good one. 

And now you see, why a Catholic dare not in 
prudence attend to such objections as are brought 
against his faith ; he has no fear of their proving 
that the Church does not come from God, but he 
is afraid, if he listened to them without reason, 
lest God should punish him by the loss of his 
supernatural faith. This is one cause of that 
miserable state of mind, to which I have already 


alluded, in which men would fain be Catholics, 
and are not. They have trifled with conviction, 
they have listened to arguments against what they 
knew to be true, and a deadness of mind has 
fallen on them ; faith has failed them, and, as 
time goes on, they betray in their words and 
their actions, the judgment of God, with which 
they are visited. They become careless and un- 
concerned, or restless and unhappy, or impatient 
of contradiction ; ever asking advice and quarrel- 
ling with it when given ; not attempting to answer 
the arguments urged against them, but simply 
not believing. This is the whole of their case, 
they do not believe. And then it is quite an 
accident what becomes of them ; perhaps they 
continue on in this perplexed and comfortless 
state, lingering about the Church, yet not of her ; 
not knowing what they believe and what they do 
not, like blind men, or men deranged, who are 
deprived of the eye, whether of body or mind, and 
cannot guide themselves in consequence ; ever 
exciting hopes of a return, and ever disappointing 
them ; — or, if they are men of more vigorous 
minds, they launch forward in a course of infi- 
delity, not really believing less, as they proceed, 
for from the first they believed nothing, but taking 
up, as time goes on, more and more consistent 
forms of error, till at last, if a free field is given 
them, they develop into atheism. Such is the 


end of those who, under the pretence of inquiring 
after truth, trifle with conviction. 

Here then are some of the reasons why the 
Cathohc Church cannot consistently allow her 
children to doubt the divinity and the truth of 
her words. Mere inquiry indeed into the grounds 
of our faith is not to doubt ; nor is it doubting to 
consider the arguments urged against it, when 
there is good reason for doing so ; but I am 
speaking of a real doubt, or a wanton entertain- 
ment of objections. Such a procedure the Church 
denounces, and not only for the reasons which I 
have assigned, but because it would be a plain 
abandonment of her office and character to act 
otherwise. How can she, who has the prerogative 
of infallibility, allow her children to doubt of her 
gift ? It would be a simple inconsistency in her, 
who is the sure oracle of truth and messenger of 
heaven, to look with indifference on rebels to her 
authority. She simply does what the Apostles 
did before her, whom she has succeeded. " He 
that despiseth," says St. Paul, " despiseth not 
man, but God, who hath also given in us His 
Holy Spirit." And St. John, " We are of God ; 
he that knoweth God, heareth us ; he that is not 
of God, heareth us not ; by this we know the 
spirit of truth and the spirit of error." Take, 
again, an instance from the Old Testament: — 
When Elias was taken up into heaven, Eliseus 


was the only witness of the miracle ; on his 
coming back then to the sons of the Prophets, 
they doubted what had become of his master, 
and wished to search for him ; and, though they 
acknowledged Eliseus as his successor, they in 
this instance refused to take his word on the 
subject. Eliseus had struck the waters of 
Jordan, they had divided, and he had passed over ; 
here surely was ground enough for faith, and ac- 
cordingly " the sons of the prophets at Jericho, 
who were over against him, seeing it, said. The 
spirit of Elias hath rested upon Eliseus ; and 
they came to meet him, and worshipped him, 
falling to the ground." What could they require 
more ? they confessed that Eliseus had the spirit 
of his great master, and, in confessing it, they 
implied that that master was taken away : yet, 
they proceed, from infirmity of mind, to make a 
request indicative of doubt ; " Behold, there are 
with thy servants fifty strong men, that can go 
and search for thy master, lest perhaps the Spirit 
of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him 
upon some mountain or into some valley." Now 
here was a request to follow up a doubt into an 
inquiry ; did Eliseus allow it? he knew perfectly 
well, that the inquiry would but end, as it really 
ended, in confirmation of the truth, but it was 
indulging a wrong spirit to engage in it, and he 
would not allow it. These religious men were, 



as he would feel, strangely inconsistent ; they 
were doubting his word whom they had just now 
worshipped as a Prophet, and, not only so, but 
they were doubting his supreme authority, for 
they implied that Elias was still among them. 
Accordingly he forbad their request ; " He said, 
Send not." This is what the world would call 
stifling an inquiry ; it was, ^forsooth, tyrannical 
and oppressive to oblige them to take on his word 
what they might ascertain for themselves ; yet he 
could not do otherwise without being unfaithful 
to his divine mission, and sanctioning them in a 
fault. It is true, when " they pressed him, he con- 
sented, and said. Send ;" but we must not suppose 
this to be more than a condescension to their 
weakness, or a concession in displeasure, like that 
which Almighty God gave to Balaam, who pressed 
his request in a similar way. When Balaam 
asked to go with the ancients of Moab, God said, 
" Thou shalt not go with them ;" when Balaam 
asked Him " once more," " God said to him, 
Arise, and go with them ;" then it is added, 
" Balaam went with them, and God was angry." 
Here in like manner, the prophet said, Send ; 
" and they sent fifty men, and they sought three 
days, but found him not ;" yet, though the inquiry 
did but prove that Elias was removed, Ehseus 
showed no satisfaction at it, even when it had 
confirmed his authority : but " he said to them, 


Said I not to you, Send not ?" It is thus that 
the Church ever forbids inquiry in those who 
already acknowledge her authority ; but, if they 
will inquire, she cannot hinder it ; but they are 
not justified in doing so. 

And now I think you see, my brethren, why 
inquiry precedes faith, and does not follow it. 
You inquired before you joined the Church ; you 
were satisfied, and God rewarded you with the 
grace of faith ; were you now determined to inquire 
further, you would lead us to think you had lost 
it again, for inquiry and faith are in their very 
nature incompatible. I will add, what is very 
evident, that no person or persons have a right to 
demand such an exercise of faith in them, and a 
right to forbid you further inquiry, but the Ca- 
thohc Church ; and for this single reason, that no 
other body even claims to be infallible, let alone the 
proof of such a claim. Here is the defect at first 
starting, which disqualifies them, one and all, 
from ever competing with the Church of God. 
The sects about us, so far from demanding your 
faith, actually call on you to inquire and to doubt 
freely about themselves ; they protest that they 
are but voluntary associations, and would be 
sorry to be taken for anything else ; they beg and 
pray you not to mistake their preachers for any 
thing more than mere sinful men, and they invite 
you to take the Bible with you to their sermons, 


and to judge for yourselves whether their doctrine 
is in accordance with it. Then, as to the Estab- 
hshed Kehgion, grant that there are those in it 
who forbid inquiry ; yet dare they maintain that 
their Church, as they call it, is infallible ? if they 
do not, and no one does, how can they forbid 
inquiry about it, or claim for it the absolute faith 
of any of its members ? Faith under these cir- 
cumstances is not really faith, but obstinacy. Nor 
do they commonly venture to demand it ; they 
will say, negatively, " Do not inquire ;" but they 
cannot say positively, " Have faith ;" for in whom 
are their members to have faith ? of whom can 
they say, individual or collection of men, " He or 
they are gifted with infallibility, and cannot mislead 
us ?" Therefore, when pressed to explain them- 
selves, they ground their duty of continuance in 
their communion, not on faith in it, but on attach- 
ment to it, which is a very different thing ; ut- 
terly different, for there are very many reasons 
why they should feel a very great liking for the 
religion in which they have been brought up. 
Its portions of Catholic teaching, its established 
forms, the pure and beautiful English of its 
prayers, its literature, the piety found among its 
members, the influence of superiors and friends, 
its liistorical associations, its domestic character, 
the charm of a country life, the remembrance of 
past years, — there is all this and much more to 



attach the mind to the national worship. But 
attachment is not trust, nor is to ohey the same 
as to look up to, and to rely upon ; nor do I 
think that any thoughtful or educated man can 
simply believe or confide in the word of the 
Established Church. I never met any such per- 
son who did, or said he did, and I do not think 
that such a person is possible. Its defenders 
would believe if they could ; but their highest 
confidence is qualified by a misgiving. They 
obey, they are silent before the voice of their 
superiors, but they do not profess to believe. 
Nothing is clearer than this, that if faith in 
God's word is required of us for salvation, the 
Catholic Church is the only medium by which 
we can exercise it. 

And now, my brethren, who are not Catholics, 
perhaps you will tell me, that, if all inquiry is to 
cease when you become Cathohcs, you ought to 
be very sure that the Church is from God before 
you join it. You speak truly ; no one should 
enter the Church without a firm purpose of 
taking her word in all matters of doctrine and 
morals, and that, on the ground of her coming 
directly from the God of Truth. You must look 
the matter in the face, and count the cost. If 
you do not come in this spirit, you may as well 
not come at all ; high and low, learned and igno- 
rant, must come to learn. If you are right as far 


as this, you cannot go very wrong ; you have the 
foundation ; but, if you come in any other temper, 
you had better wait till you have got rid of it. 
You must come, I say, to the Church to learn ; 
you must come, not to bring your own notions to 
her, but with the intention of ever being a learner ; 
you must come with the intention of taking her 
for your portion and of never leaving her. Do 
not come as an experiment ; do not come as you 
would take sittings in a chapel, or tickets for a 
lecture-room ; come to her as to your home, to 
the school of your souls, to the Mother of Saints, 
and to the vestibule of heaven. On the other 
hand do not distress yourselves with thoughts 
whether, when you have joined her, your faith 
will last ; this is a suggestion of your Enemy 
to hold you back. He who has begun a good 
work in you, will perfect it ; He who has chosen 
you, will be faithful to you ; put your cause into 
His hand, wait upon Him, and you will surely 
persevere. What good work will you ever begin, 
if you bargain first to see the end of it ? If you 
wish to do all at once, you will do nothing ; he 
has done half the work, who has begun it well ; 
you will not gain your Lord's praise at the final 
reckoning by hiding His talent. No ; when He 
brings you from error to truth. He will have done 
the more difficult work, (if aught is difficult to 
Him,) and surely He will preserve you from 



returning from truth to error. Take the expe- 
rience of those who have gone before you in the 
same course ; they had many fears that their 
faith would fail them, before taking the great step, 
but those fears vanished on their taking it ; they 
had fears, before the grace of faith, lest, after 
receiving it, they should lose it again ; no fears, 
(except on the ground of their general frailness,) 
after it was actually given. 

Be convinced in your reason that the Catholic 

Church is a teacher sent to you from God, and it 

is enough. I do not wish you to join her, till 

you are. If you are half convinced, pray for a 

full conviction, and wait till you have it. It is 

better indeed to come quickly, but better slowly 

than carelessly ; and sometimes, as the proverb 

goes, the more haste, the worse speed. Only 

make yourselves sure that the delay is not from 

any fault of yours, which you can remedy. God 

deals with us very differently ; conviction comes 

slowly to some men, quickly to others ; in some it 

is the result of much thought and many reasonings, 

in others of a sudden illumination. One man is 

convinced at once, as in the instance described by 

St. Paul : " If all prophesy," he says, speaking 

of exposition of doctrine, " and there come in 

one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is 

convinced of aU, he is judged of all. The secrets 

of his heart are made manifest ; and so, falling 


down on his face, he will worship God, and say 
that God is among you of a truth." The case is 
the same now ; some men are converted merely 
by entering a Catholic Church ; others are con- 
verted by readmg one book ; others by one 
doctrine. They feel the weight of their sins, and 
they see that that religion must come from God, 
which alone has the means of forgiving them. 
Or they are touched and overcome by the evi- 
dent sanctity, beauty, and (as I may say) 
fragrance of the Catholic Eeligion. Or they long 
for a guide amid the strife of tongues ; and the 
very doctrine of the Church about faith, which is 
so hard to many, is conviction to them. Others, 
again, hear many objections to the Church, and 
follow out the whole subject far and wide ; con- 
viction can scarcely come to them except as at 
the end of a long inquiry. As in a court of 
justice, one man's innocence may be proved at 
once, another's is the result of a careful investiga- 
tion ; one has nothing in his conduct or character 
to explain, another has many presumptions against 
him at first sight ; so Holy Church presents her- 
self very differently to different minds who are con- 
templating her from without. God deals with 
them differently ; but, if they are faithful to their 
light, at last, in their own time, though it may be 
a different time to each. He brings them to that 
one and the same state of mind, very definite and 


not to be mistaken, which we call conviction. 
They will have no doubt, whatever difficulties 
may still attach to the subject, that the Church is 
from God ; they may not be able to answer this 
objection or that, but they will be certain in spite 
of them. 

This is a point which should evq?" be kept in 
view: con\action is a state of mind, and it is 
something beyond and distinct from the mere 
arguments of which it is the result ; it does not 
vary with their strength or their number. Argu- 
ments lead to a conclusion, and when the argu- 
ments are stronger, the conclusion is clearer ; but 
conviction may be felt as strongly in consequence 
of a clear conclusion, as of one which is clearer. 
A man may be so sure upon six reasons, that he 
does not need a seventh, nor would feel surer if 
he had it. And so as regards the Catholic 
Church : men are convinced in very various ways, 
what convinces one, does not convince another ; 
but this is an accident ; the time comes any how, 
sooner or later, when a man ought to be convinced, 
and is convinced, and then he is bound not to 
wait for any more arguments, though more argu- 
ments be producible. He will find himself in a 
condition when he may even refuse to hear more 
arguments in behalf of the Church ; he does not 
wish to read or think more on the subject, his 
mind is quite made up. In such a case it is his 

N 2 


duty to join the Church at once ; he must not 
delay ; let him be cautious in counsel, but prompt 
in execution. This it is that makes Catholics so 
anxious about him : it is not that they wish him 
to be precipitate ; but, knowing the temptations 
which the evil one ever throws in our way, they 
are lovingly ajixious for his soul, lest he has come 
to the point of conviction, and is passing it, and is 
losing his chance of conversion. If so, it may 
never return ; God has not chosen every one to 
salvation: it is a rare gift to be a Catholic ; it 
may be offered to us once in our hves and never 
again ; and, if we have not seized on the " accept- 
ed time," nor known " in our day the things which 
are for our peace," O the misery for us ! What 
shall we be able to say, when death comes, and we 
are not converted, and it is directly and imme- 
diately our own doing that we are not. 

" Wisdom preacheth abroad, she uttereth her 
voice in the streets : How long, ye little ones, 
love ye childishness ? and fools covet what is 
hurtful to them, and the unwise hate knowledge? 
Turn ye at My reproof ; behold, I will bring forth 
to you My Spirit, and I will show My words unto 
you. Because I have called, and ye refused, I 
stretched out My hand, and there was none who 
regarded, and ye despised all My counsel and 
neglected My chidings ; I also will laugh in your 
destruction, and will mock when that shall come 


to you which you feared ; when a sudden storm 
shall rush on you, and destruction shall thicken as 
a tempest, when tribulation and straitness shall 
come upon you. Then shall they call on Me, 
and I will not hear ; they shall rise betimes, but 
they shall not find Me ; for that they hated dis- 
cipline, and took not on them the fear of the 
Lord, nor acquiesced in My counsel, but made 
light of My reproof, therefore shall they eat the 
fruit of their own way, and be filled with their 
own devices." 

O the misery for us, as many of us as shall be 
in that number ! O the awful thought for all 
eternity, O the remorseful sting, " I was called, I 
might have answered, and I did not." And O 
the blessedness, if we can look back on the time 
of trial, when friends implored and enemies 
scoifed, and say, — The misery for me, which would 
have been, had I not followed on, had I hung 
back, when Christ called ! the utter confusion 
of mind, the wreck of faith and opinion, the 
blackness and void, the dreary scepticism, the 
hopelessness, which would have been my lot, the 
pledge of the outer darkness to come, had I been 
afraid to follow Him ! I have lost friends, I have 
lost the world, but I have gained Him, who gives 
in Himself houses and brethren and sisters and 
mothers and children and lands a hundred-fold j 
I have lost the perishable, and gained the Infiaite ; 


I have lost time, and I have gained eternity ; 
" O Lord, my God, I am Thy servant, and the 
son of Thine handmaid ; Thou hast broken my 
bonds. I will sacrifice to Thee the sacrifice of 
praise, and I will call on the Name of the 



A STRANGE time this may seem to some of you, 
my brethren, and a strange place, to commence an 
enterprize such as that, which, relying on God's 
mercy, we are undertaking this day.* In this 
huge city, amid a population of human beings, so 
vast that each is solitary, so various that each is 
independent, which, Hke the ocean, yields before 
and closes over every attempt made to influence 
and impress it, in this mere aggregate of indivi- 
duals, which admits of neither change nor reform, 
because it has no internal order, or disposition 
of parts, or mutual dependence, because it has 
nothing to change from and nothing to change to, 
where no one knows his next door neighbour, 

* This discourse was delivered in substance at the first 
opening of the London Oratory in 1849. 


where in every place are found a thousand worlds, 
each pursuing its own functions unimpeded by the 
rest, how can we, how can a handful of men, do 
any service worthy the Lord who has called us, 
and the objects to which our lives are dedicated ? 
" Cry aloud, spare not !" says the Prophet ; well 
may he say it ! no room for sparing ; what cry is 
loud enough, except the last trump of God, to 
pierce the omnipresent din of turmoil and of effort, 
which rises, like an exhalation from the very 
earth, along the public thoroughfares, and to 
cleave the dense mass heaped up behind them in 
a maze of buildings known only to those who live 
in them ? It is but a fool's work to essay the 
impossible ; keep to your own place, and you are 
respectable ; tend your sheep in the wilderness, 
and you are intelligible ; build upon the old 
foundations, and you are safe ; but begin nothing 
new, make no experiments, quicken not the action, 
nor strain the powers, nor complicate the responsi- 
bilities of your Mother, lest in her old age you 
bring her to shame, and the idlers laugh at her 
who once bare many children, but now is waxed 

And here is another thing, the time ; the time 
of coming hither ! now, when you rest on no im- 
moveable centre, as of old, when you are not 
what you were lately, when your life is in 
jeopardy, your future in suspense, your Master in 


exile ; look at home, you have, enough to do at 
home. Look to the Rock whence ye were cut, 
and to the quarry whence ye were chopped ! 
Where is Peter now ? Magni nominis umbra, 
as the heathen author says : an antiquated cause, 
noble in its time, but of a past day ; nay, true and 
divine in its time, as far as anything can be such, 
but false now, and of the earth now, because it is 
failing now, bent with the weight of eighteen 
hundred years, tottering to its fall ; for with 
Englishmen, you should know, success is the 
measure of principle, and power is the exponent 
of right. Do you not understand our rule of 
action ? we take up men and lay them down, we 
praise or we blame, we feel respect or contempt, 
according as they succeed or are defeated. You 
are wrong, because you are in misfortune ; power 
is truth. Wealth is power, intellect is power, 
good name is pt)wer, knowledge is power ; we 
venerate wealth, intellect, name, knowledge. Intel- 
lect we know, and wealth we know, but who are 
ye ? what have we to do with the ghosts of an old 
world and the types of a former organization ? 

It is true, my brethren, this is a strange time, a 
strange place to be beginning our work. A strange 
place for Saints and Angels to pitch their taber- 
nacles in, this metropolis ! strange, — I will not 
say for thee, my Mother Mary, to be found in ; 
for no part of the Catholic inheritance is foreign 


to thee, and thou art every where, where the 
Church is found, Porta manes et Stella maris^ 
the constant object of her devotion, and the uni- 
versal advocate of her children, — not strange to 
thee, but strange enough to him, my own Saint 
and Master, Philip Neri. Yes, dear Father, it is 
strange for thee, to pass from the bright calm 
cities of the South to this scene of godless toil and 
self-trusting adventure ; strange for thee to be 
seen hurrying to and fro across our crowded 
streets, in thy grave black cassock, and thy white 
collar, instead of moving at thy own pace amid 
the open ways or vacant spaces of the great City, 
in which, as God guided thy young meditations, 
thou didst for life and death fix thy habitation. 
Yes, it is all very strange to the world ; but no 
new thing to her, the Bride of the Lamb, whose 
very being and primary gifts are stranger in the 
eyes of unbelief, than any details as to place of 
abode and method of proceeding, in which they 
are manifested. It is no new thing in her, who 
came in the beginning as a wanderer upon earth, 
whose condition is a perpetual warfare, and whose 
empire is an incessant conquest. 

In such a time as this, did the prince of the 
Apostles, the first Pope, advance towards the 
heathen city, where, under a divine guidance, he 
was to fix his seat. He toiled along the stately 
road which led him straight onwards to the capi- 


tal of the world. He met throngs of the idle and 
the busy, of strangers and natives, who peopled 
the interminable suburb. He passed under the 
high gate, and wandered on amid marble palaces 
and columned temples ; he met processions of 
heathen priests and ministers in honour of their 
idols ; he met the wealthy lady, borne on her 
litter by her slaves ; he met the stern legionaries 
who had been the " massive iron hammers" of the 
whole earth ; he met the anxious politician with 
his ready man of business at his side to prompt 
him on his canvass for popularity ; he met the 
orator returning home from a successful pleading, 
with his young admirers and his grateful or hope- 
ful clients. He saw about him nothing but tokens 
of a vigorous power, grown up into a definite 
establishment, formed and matured in its religion, 
its laws, its civil traditions, its imperial extension, 
through the history of many centuries ; and what 
was he but a poor, feeble, aged stranger, in no- 
thing different from the multitude of men, — an 
Egyptian or a Chaldean, or perhaps a Jew, some 
Eastern or other, — as passers by would guess 
according to their knowledge of human kind, 
carelessly looking at him, (as we might turn our 
eyes upon Hindoo or gipsy, as they met us,) with- 
out the shadow of a thought that such a one 
was destined then to commence an age of reli- 
gious sovereignty, in which they might live their 

282 PROSPECTS OF [disc. 

own heathen times twice over, and not see its 
end ! 

In such a time as this did the great Doctor, 
St. Gregory Nazianzen, he too an old man, a 
timid man, a retiring man, fond of sohtude and 
books, and unpractised in the struggles of the 
world, suddenly appear in the Arian city of Con- 
stantinople ; and, in despite of a fanatical popu- 
lace, and an heretical clergy, preach the truth, 
and prevail, to his own wonder, and to the glory of 
that grace which is strong in weakness, and is ever 
nearest to its triumph when it is most despised. 

In such a time did another St. Gregory, the 
first Pope of the name, when all things were now 
failing, when barbarians had occupied the earth, 
and fresh and more savage multitudes were pour- 
ing down, when pestilence, famine, and heresy 
ravaged far and near, — oppressed, as he was, 
with continual sickness, his bed his Pontifical 
Throne, — in such a time did he rule, direct, and 
consohdate the Church, in what he augured were 
the last moments of the world ; subduing Arians 
in Spain, Donatists in Africa, a third heresy in 
Egypt, a fourth in Gaul, humbling the pride of 
the East, reconciling the Goths to the Church, 
bringing our own pagan ancestors within her pale, 
and completing her order, and beautifying her 
ritual, while he strengthened the foundations of 
her power. 


And in such a time did the six Jesuit Fathers, 
Ignatius and his companions, while the world was 
exulting in the Church's fall, and men " made 
merry, and sent their gifts one to another," be- 
cause the prophets were dead which " tormented 
them that dwelt upon earth," make their vow in 
the small Church of Montmartre ; and, attracting 
others to them by the sympathetic force of zeal, 
and the eloquence of sanctity, went forward 
calmly and silently into India in the East, and 
into America in the West, and, while they added 
whole nations to the Church abroad, restored and 
re-animated the Catholic populations at home. 

It is no new thing then with the Church, in a 
time of confusion or of anxiety, when oifences 
abound, and the enemy is at her gates, that her 
children, far from being dismayed, or rather glory- 
ing in the danger, as vigorous men exult in trials 
of their strength, it is no new thing, I say, that 
they should go forth to do her work, as though 
she were in the most palmy days of her prosperity. 
Old Rome, in her greatest distress, sent her 
legions to foreign destinations by one gate, while 
the Carthaginian conqueror was at the other. 
In truth, as has been said of our own countrymen, 
we, Catholics, do not know when we are beaten ; 
we advance, when by all the rules of war we 
ought to fall back ; we dream but of triumphs, 
and mistake (as the world judges) defeat for 


victory. For we have upon us the omens of 
success in the recollections of the past ; we read 
upon our banners the names of many an old field 
of battle and of glory ; we are strong in the 
strength of our fathers, and we mean to do, in 
our humble measure, what Saints have done 
before us. It is nothing great or wonderful in us 
to be thus minded ; only Saints indeed do ex- 
ploits, and carry contests through, but ordinary 
men, the serving-men and privates of the Church, 
are equal to attempting them. It needs no hero- 
ism in us, my brethren, to face such a time as 
this, and to make light of it ; for we are 
Catholics. We have the experience of eighteen 
hundred years. The great philosopher of anti- 
quity tells us, that mere experience is courage, 
not indeed of the highest kind, but sufficient to 
succeed upon. It is not one or two or a dozen 
defeats, if we had them, which will reverse the 
majesty of the Catholic Name. We are willing 
to take this generation on its own selected 
ground, and to make our intenseness of purpose 
the very voucher for our divinity. We are con- 
fident, zealous, and unyielding, because we are 
the heirs of St. Peter, St. Gregory Nazianzen, 
St. Gregory Pope, and all other holy and faithful 
men, who in their day, by word, deed, or prayer, 
have furthered the Catholic cause. We share in 
their merits and intercessions, and we speak with 


their voice. Hence we do that without heroism, 
which others, who are not Catholics, do only with 
it. It would be heroism in others, certainly, to 
set about our work. Did Jews aim at bringing 
over this vast population to the rites of the Law, 
or did Unitarians address themselves to the con- 
version of the Holy Eoman Church, or did the 
Society of Friends attempt the great French 
nation, this might rightly be called heroism ; not 
a true religious heroism, but it would be a some- 
thing extraordinary and startling. It would be a 
peculiar, special, original, audacious idea ; it 
would be making a great venture on a great 
uncertainty. But there is nothing of special 
courage, nothing of personal magnanimity, in a 
Catholic's making light of the world, and begin- 
ning to preach to it, though it turn its face from 
him. He knows the nature and habits of the 
world ; and it is his immemorial way of dealing 
with it ; he does but act according to his voca- 
tion ; he would not be a Catholic, did he act 
otherwise. He knows whose vessel he has 
entered ; it is the bark of Peter. When the 
greatest of the Romans was in an open boat on 
the Adriatic, and the sea rose, he said to the 
terrified boatman, Ccesarem vehis et fortunam 
Ccesaris^ " Caesar is your freight and Caesar's for- 
tune." What he said in presumption, we, my 
dear brethren, can repeat in faith, of that boat, in 


which Christ once sat and preached. We have 
not chosen it to have fear about it ; we have 
not entered it to escape out of it ; no, but to go 
forth in it upon the flood of sin and unbehef, 
which would sink any other craft. We began 
our work at the first with Peter for our guide, on 
the very Feast of his Chair, and at the very 
Shrine of his relics ; so, when any of you marvel 
that we should choose this place and this time for 
our missionary labours, let him know that we are 
of those who measure the present by the past, 
and poise the world upon a distant centre. We 
act according to our name ; Catholics are at home 
in every time and place, in every state of society, 
in every class of the community, in every stage of 
cultivation. No state of things comes amiss to a 
CathoHc priest ; he has always a work to do, and 
a harvest to reap. 

Were it otherwise, had he not confidence in the 
darkest day, and the most hostile district, he 
would be relinquishing a principal note, as it is 
called, of the Church. She is Catholic, because 
she brings an universal remedy for an universal 
disease. The disease is sin ; all men have 
sinned ; all men need a recovery in Christ ; to 
all must that recovery be preached and dispensed. 
If then there be a preacher and dispenser of 
recovery, sent from God, that messenger must 
speak, not to one, but to all, he must be suited to 


all, he must have a mission to the whole race of 
Adam, and be cognizable by every individual of 
it. I do not mean that he must persuade all, and 
prevail with all, for that depends upon the will of 
each ; but he must show his capabilities for con- 
verting all by actually converting some of every 
time, and every place, and every rank, and every 
age of life, and every character of mind. If sin 
is a partial evil, let its remedy be partial ; but, if 
it be not local, not occasional, but universal, such 
must be the remedy. A local religion is not 
from God. It must indeed begin, and it may 
linger, in one place ; nay for centuries it may 
remain there, provided it is expanding and matur- 
ing in its internal character, and professes the 
while that it is not yet perfect. There may be 
deep reasons in God's counsels, why the proper 
revelation of His will to man should have been 
slowly elaborated and gradually completed in the 
elementary form of Judaism ; but that revelation 
was ever in progress to the Jewish period, and 
pointed by its prophets to a day when it should 
be spread over the whole earth. Judaism then 
was local, because it was imperfect ; when it 
reached perfection within, it became universal 
without, and took the name of Catholic. 

Look around, my brethren, at the forms of re- 
ligion now in the world, and you will find that 
one and one only has this note of a divine origin. 

288 PROSPECTS OF [disc. 

The Catholic Church has accompanied human 
society through the revolution of its great year ; 
and is now beginning it again. She has passed 
through the full cycle of changes, in order to show 
us that she is independent of them all. She has 
had trial of East and West, of monarchy and 
democracy, of peace and war, of imperial and of 
feudal tyranny, of times of darkness and times of 
philosophy, ofbarbarousness and luxury, of slaves 
and freemen, of cities and nations, of marts of 
commerce and seats of manufacture, of old coun- 
tries and young, of metropolis and colonies. She 
arose in the most happy age which perhaps the 
world has ever known ; for two or three hundred 
years she had to fight against the authority of law, 
established forms of religion, military power, an 
ably cemented empire, and prosperous contented 
populations. And in the course of that period, 
this poor, feeble, despised Society, was able to 
defeat its imperial oppressor, in spite of his vio- 
lent efforts, again and again exerted, to rid himself 
of so despicable an assailant. In spite of calumny, 
in spite of popular outbreaks, in spite of cruel 
torments, the lords of the world were forced, as 
their sole chance of maintaining their empire, to 
come to terms with that body, of which the present 
Church is in name, in line, in doctrine, in prin- 
ciples, in manner of being, in moral characteristics, 
the descendant and representative. They were 


forced tohumble themselves to her, and toenter her 
pale, and to exalt her, and to depress her enemies. 
She triumphed as never any other triumphed 
before or since. But this was not all ; scarcely 
had she secured her triumph, or rather set about 
securing it, when it was all reversed ; for the 
Roman Power, her captive, which with so much 
blood and patience she had subjugated, suddenly 
came to nought. It broke and perished ; and 
against her rushed millions of wild savages from 
the north and east, who had neither God nor 
conscience, nor even natural compassion. She 
had to begin again ; for centuries they came down, 
one horde after another, like roaring waves, and 
dashed against her base. They came again and 
again, like the armed bands sent by the king of 
Israel against the Prophet ; and, as he brought 
fire down from heaven which devoured them as 
they came, so in her more gracious way did 
Holy Church, burning with zeal and love, devour 
her enemies, multitude after multitude, with the 
flame which her Lord had kindled, " heaping coals 
of fire upon their heads," and "overcoming evil 
with good." Thus out of those fierce strangers 
were made her truest and most loyal children ; 
and then from amono; them there arose a strong 
military power, more artificially constructed than 
the old Roman, with traditions and precedents 
which lasted on for centuries, at first the Church's 



champion and then her rival ; and here too she 
had to undergo conflict, and to gain her triumph. 
And so I might proceed, going to and fro, and 
telHng of her pohtical successes since, and of her 
intellectual victories from the beginning, and of 
her social improvements, and of her encounters 
with those other circumstances of human nature 
or combinations of human kind, which I just now 
enumerated ; all wliich prove to us, with a cogency 
as great as that of a physical demonstration, that 
she comes not of earth, that she holds not of 
earth, that she is no servant of man, else he who 
]nade could have destroyed her. 

How different, again I say, how different are 
all religions that ever were from this lofty and 
unchangeable Catholic Church ! They depend 
on time and place for their existence, they hve in 
periods or in regions. They are children of the 
soil, indigenous plants, which readily flourish 
under a certain temperature, in a certain aspect, 
in moist or in dry, and die if they are transplanted. 
Their habitat is one article of their scientific de- 
scription. Thus the Greek schism, Nestorianism, 
the heresy of Calvin, and Methodism, each has its 
geographical limits. Protestantism has gained 
nothing in Europe since its first outbreak. Some 
accident gives rise to these religious manifestations; 
some sickly season, the burning sun, the vapour- 
laden marsh, breeds a pestilence, and there it 


remains, hanging in the air over its birth-place 
perhaps for centuries ; then some change takes 
place in the earth or in the heavens, and it sud- 
denly is no more. Sometimes, however, it is true, 
such scourges of God have a course upon earth, 
and afiect a Catholic range. They issue as from 
some poisonous lake or pit in Ethiopia or in India, 
and march forth with resistless power to fulfil 
their mission of evil, and walk to and fro over the 
face of the world. Such was the Arabian impos- 
ture of which Mahomet was the framer ; and you 
will ask, perhaps, wdiether it has not done that, 
which I have said the Catholic Church alone can 
do, and proved thereby that it had in it an internal 
principle, which, depending not on man, could 
subdue him in any time or place ? No, my bre- 
thren, look narrowly, and you will see the marked 
distinction which exists between the religion of Ma- 
homet and the Church of Christ. For Mahometan- 
ism has done Httle more than the Anglican com- 
munion is doing at present. That communion is 
found in many parts of the world ; its primate has 
a jurisdiction even greater than the Nestorian 
Patriarch of old ; it has establishments in Malta, 
in Jerusalem, in India, in China, in Australia, in 
South Africa, and in Canada. Here at least you 
will say is Catholicity, even greater than that of 
Mahomet. O, my brethren, be not beguiled by 
words: will any tliinking man say for a moment, 


whatever this objection be worth, that the Esta- 
blished Eehgion is superior to time and place ? 
well, if not, why set about proving that it is ? 
rather, does not its essence lie in its recognition 
by the State ? is not its establishment its very 
Jbr7n f what would it be, would it last ten years, if 
abandoned to itself ? It is its establishment which 
erects it into a unity and individuality ; can you, though you stimulate your imagi- 
nation to the task, abstracted from its churches, 
palaces, colleges, parsonages, revenues, civil pre- 
cedence, and national position ? Strip it of this 
world, and you have performed a mortal operation 
upon it, for it has ceased to be. Take its bishops ' 
out of the legislature, tear its formularies from the 
Statute Book, open its universities to Dissenters, 
allow its clergy to become laymen again, legalize 
its private prayer-meetings, and what would be its 
definition ? You know that, did not the State com- 
pel it to be one, it would split at once into three 
several bodies, each bearing within it the elements 
of further divisions. Even the small party of 
Non-jurors, a century and a half since, when re- 
leased from the civil power, split into two. It 
has then no internal consistency, or individuality, 
or soul, to give it the capacity of propagation. 
Methodism represents some sort of an idea, Con- 
gregationalism an idea ; the Established Religion 
has in it no idea beyond, establishment. Its ex- 


tension has been, for the most part, passive not 
active ; it is carried forward into other places by 
State policy, and it moves because the State 
moves ; it is an appendage, whether weapon or 
decoration, of the sovereign power ; it is the 
religion, not even of a race, but of the ruling por- 
tion of a race. The Anglo-Saxon has done in 
this day what the Saracen did in a former. He 
does grudgingly for expedience, what the other 
did heartily from fanaticism. This is the chief 
difference between the two ; the Saracen, in his 
commencement, converted the heretical East with 
the sword ; but at least in India the extension of 
his faith has been by immigration, as the Anglo- 
Saxon's now ; he grew into other nations by com- 
merce and colonization ; but, when he encountered 
the Catholic of the West, he made as little impres- 
sion upon Spain, as the Protestant Anglo-Saxon 
makes on Ireland. 

There is but one form of Christianity, my 
brethren, possessed of that real internal unity 
which is the primary condition of independence. 
Whether you look to Russia, England, or Ger- 
many, this note of divinity is wanting. In this 
country, especially, there is nothing broader than 
class religions ; the established form itself is but 
the religion of a class. There is one persuasion 
for the rich, and another for the poor ; men are 
bom in this or that sect ; the enthusiastic go here, 


and the sober and rational go there. They make 
money, and rise in the world, and then they pro- 
fess to belong to the Establishment. This body 
lives in the world's smile, that in its frown ; the 
one would perish of cold in the world's winter, 
and the other would melt away in the summer. 
Not one of them undertakes human nature : none 
compasses the whole man ; none places all men 
on a level ; none addresses the intellect and the 
heart, fear and love, the active and the contem- 
plative. It is considered, and justly, as an evi- 
dence for Christianity, that the ablest men have 
been Christians ; not that all sagacious or pro- 
found minds have taken up its profession, but 
that it has gained victories among them, such and 
so many, as to show that is not the mere fact of 
ability or learning which is the reason why all are 
not converted. Such too is the characteristic of 
Catholicity ; not the highest in rank, not the 
meanest, not the most refined, not the rudest, is 
beyond the influence of the Church ; she includes 
specimens of every class among her children. 
She is the solace of the forlorn, the chastener of 
the prosperous, and the guide of the wayward. 
She keeps a mother's eye for the innocent, bears 
with a heavy hand upon the wanton, and has a 
voice of majesty for the proud. She opens the 
mind of the ignorant, and she prostrates the intel- 
lect of even the most gifted. These are not words ; 


she has done it, she does it still, she undertakes 
to do it. All she asks is an open field, and free- 
dom to act. She asks no patronage from the 
civil power : in former times and places she has 
asked it ; and, as Protestantism also, has availed 
herself of the civil sword. It is true she did so, 
because in certain times it has been the acknow- 
ledged mode of acting, the most expeditious, and 
open to no just exception, and because, where she 
has done so, the people clamoured for it and did 
it in advance of her ; but her history shows that 
she needed it not, for she has extended and 
flourished without it. She is ready for any ser- 
vice which occurs ; she will take the world as it 
comes ; nothing but force can repress her. See, 
my brethren, what she is doing in this country 
now ; for three centuries the civil power has 
trodden down the goodly plant of grace, and kept 
its foot upon it ; at length circumstances have 
removed that tyranny, and lo, the fair form of the 
Ancient Church rises up at once, as fresh and as 
vigorous as if she had never intermitted her 
growth. She is the same as she was three cen- 
turies ago, ere the present religions of the country 
existed ; you know her to be the same ; it is the 
charge brought against her that she does not 
change ; time and place affect her not, because 
she has her source where there is neither time 

296 PROSPECTS OF [disc. 

nor place, because she comes from the throne of 
the UHmitable, Eternal God. 

With these feelings, my brethren, can we fear 
that we shall not have work enough in a vast city 
like this which has such need of us ? He on 
whom we repose is " yesterday, and to-day, and 
the same for ever." If He did His wonders in 
the days of old, He does His wonders now ; if 
in former days the feeble and unworthy were 
made His instruments of good, so are they now. 
While we trust in Him, while we are true to His 
Church, we know that He intends to use us ; how, 
we know not ; who are to be the objects of His 
mercy, we know not ; we know not to whom we 
are sent ; but we know that tens of thousands 
cry out for us, and that of a surety we shall be 
sent to His chosen. " The word which shall issue 
from His mouth shall not return unto Him void, 
but shall do His pleasure, and shall prosper in the 
things whereto He hath sent it." None so inno- 
cent, none so sinful, none so dull, none so intellec- 
tual, but need the grace of the Catholic Church. 
If we do not prevail with the educated, we shall 
prevail with the rude ; if we fail with the old, we 
shall gain the young ; if we persuade not the 
serious and respectable, we shall succeed with 
the thoughtless ; if we come short of those who 
are near the Church, we shall reach even to those 


who are far distant from it. God's arm is not 
shortened ; He has not sent us here for nothing ; 
unless, (which He Himself forbid !) we come to 
nothing by reason of our own disobedience. 

True, there is one class of persons to whom we 
might seem to be sent more than to others, to 
whom we could naturally address ourselves, and 
on whose attention we have a sort of claim. 
How can I fitly bring these remarks to an end 
without referring to them ? There are those, I 
say, who, like ourselves, were in times past gra- 
dually led on step by step, till with us they stood 
on the threshold of the Church. They felt with 
us that the Catholic Religion was different from 
anything else in the world ; and though it is 
difficult to say what more they felt in common, 
(for no two persons exactly felt alike,) yet they 
felt they had something to learn, their course was 
not clear to them, and they wished to find out 
God's will. Now, what might have been expected 
of such persons, what was natural in them, when 
they heard that their own friends, with whom they 
had sympathized so fully, had gone forward, 
under a sense of duty, to join the Catholic 
Church ? Surely it was natural, — I will not 
say, that they should at once follow them, (for 
they had authority also on the side of remaining,) 
— but at least it was natural, that they should 
weigh the matter well, and listen with interest to 



what their friends might have to tell them. Did 
they do this in fact ? alas, they did just the con- 
trary : they said, " Since our common doctrines 
and principles have led you forward, for that very 
reason we will go backward ; the more we have 
hitherto agreed with you, the less can we now be 
influenced by you. Because you have gone, 
therefore we make up our minds once for all to 
remain. Your arguments are clearly a tempta- 
tion, because we cannot answer them. We will 
turn away our eyes, we will close our ears, lest we 
should see and hear too much. You were so 
singleminded when you were with us, that party 
spirit must now be your motive; so honest in 
your leaving us, that notoriety is now your aim. 
We cannot inflict a keener mortification on you 
than by taking no notice of you when you speak ; 
we cannot have a better triumph over you, than 
by keeping others from you when they would 
address you. In a word, you have spoiled a pro- 
mising cause, and you deserve of us no mercy !" 
Alas, alas ! let them go and say all this at the judg- 
ment seat of Christ ! Take it at the best advan- 
tage, my brethren, and what is the argument based 
upon but this, — that all inquiry must be wrong, 
which results in a change of religion ? The 
process is condemned by its issue ; it is a mere 
absurdity to give up the religion of our birth, 
the home of our affections, the seat of our in- 


fluence, the well-spring of our maintenance. It 
was an absurdity in St. Paul to become a Chris- 
tian ; it was an absurdity in him to weep over his 
brethren who could not listen to him. I see now, 
I never could understand before, why it was the 
Jews hugged themselves in their Judaism, and 
were proof against persuasion. In vain the 
Apostles insisted, " Your religion leads to ours, 
and ours is a fact before your eyes ; why wait for 
what is already present, as if it were still to come V 
do you consider your Church perfect ? do you 
profess to have attained ? why not turn at least 
your thoughts towards Christianity ?" " No," 
said they, " we will Uve, we will die, where we 
were born ; the religion of our ancestors, the reli- 
gion of our nation, is the only truth ; it must be 
safe not to move. We will not unchurch our- 
selves, we will not descend from our pretensions ; 
we will shut our hearts to conviction, and will 
stake eternity on our position." O great argu- 
ment, not for Jews only, but for Mahometans, for 
Hindoos ! great argument for heathen of all 
lands, for all who prefer this world to another, 
who prefer a temporary peace to truth, present 
ease to forgiveness of sins, the smile of friends 
to the favour of Christ ! but weak argument, 
miserable sophistry, in the clear ray of heaven, 
and in the eye of Him who comes to judge the 
world with fire ! 


O, my dear brethren, if any be here present to 
whom these remarks may more or less apply, do 
us not the injustice to think that we aim at your 
conversion for any party purpose of our own. 
What should we gain from your joining us but an 
additional charge and responsibility ? But who can 
-bear to think that pious, religious hearts, on which 
the grace of God has been so singularly shed, who 
so bej&t conversion, who are intended for heaven, 
should be falling back into the world out of which 
they have been called, and losing a prize which 
was once within their reach ! Who that knows 
you, can get himself to believe that you will 
always disappoint the yearning hopes of those 
whom once you loved so much, and helped for- 
ward so effectually. Dies venit^ dies Tua^ the 
day shall come, though it may tarry, and we will 
in patience wait for it. Still the truth must be 
spoken, — we do not need^ow, but you need us; 
it is not we who shall be baffled if we cannot gain 
you, but you who will come short, if you be not 
gained. Remain, then, in the barrenness of your 
affections, and the decay of your zeal, and the 
perplexity of your reason, if you will not be con- 
verted. Alas, there is work enough to do, less 
troublesome, less anxious, than the care of your 
souls. There are thousands of sinners to be 
reconciled, of the young to be watched over, of 
the devout to be consoled. God needs not wor- 


shippers ; He needs not objects for His mercy ; 
He can do without you ; He offers His benefits 
and passes on ; He delays not ; He offers once, 
not twice and thrice ; He goes on to others ; He 
turns to the Gentiles ; He turns to open sin- 
ners ; He refuses the well-conducted for the out- 
cast ; " He hath filled the hungry with good 
things, and the rich He hath sent empty away." 

For me, my brethren, it is not likely that you 
will hear me again ; these may be my first and 
last words to you, for this is not my home. Si 
justijicare me voluero^ os meum condemnabit me^ 
" If I wish to justify myself, my mouth shall con- 
demn me ; if I shall show forth my innocence, it 
shall prove me perverse ;" yet, though full of im- 
perfections, full of miseries, I trust that I may say 
in my measure after the Apostle, "I have lived in 
all good conscience before God unto this day. 
Our glory is this, the testimony of our conscience, 
that in simplicity of heart and sincerity of God, 
and not in carnal wisdom, but in the grace of 
God, we have hved in this world, and more 
abundantly towards you." I have followed His 
guidance, and He has not disappointed me ; I 
have put myself into His hands, and He has given 
me what I sought ; and as He has been with me 
hitherto, so may He, and His blessed Mother, and 
all good Angels and Saints, be with me unto the 



I AM going to assert, what some persons, my bre- 
thren, those especially whom it most concerns, 
will not hesitate to call a great paradox ; but 
which nevertheless I consider to be most true, 
and likely to approve itself to you more and more, 
the oftener you turn your thoughts to the subject, 
and likely to be confirmed in the religious history 
of this country, as time proceeds. It is this : '— 
that it is quite as difficult, and quite as easy, to be- 
lieve that there is a God in heaven, as to believe 
that the Catholic Church is His oracle and minis- 
ter on earth. I do not mean to say, that it is 
really difficult to believe in God, (God Himself 
forbid !) no ; but that belief in God and belief in 
His Church stand on the same kind of founda- 
tion ; that the proof of the one truth is like the 
proof of the other truth, and that the objections 


which may be made to the one are like the objec- 
tions which may be made to the other ; and that, 
as right reason and sound judgment overrule 
objections to the being of a God, so do they 
supersede and set aside objections to the divine 
mission of the Church. And I consider that, 
when once a man has a real hold of the great doc- 
trine that there is a God, in its true meaning and 
bearings, then, (provided there be no disturbing 
cause, no peculiarities in his circumstances, invo- 
luntary ignorance, or the like,) he will be led on 
without an effort, as by a natural continuation of 
that belief, to believe also in the Catholic Church 
as God's messenger or Prophet, dismissing as worth- 
less the objections which are adducible against the 
latter truth, as he dismisses objections adducible 
against the former. And I consider, on the other 
hand, that, when a man does not believe in the 
Church, then, (the same accidental impediments 
being put aside, as before,) there is nothing in rea- 
son to keep him from doubting the being of a God. 
The state of the case is this ; — every one spon- 
taneously embraces the doctrine of the existence 
of God, as a first principle, and a necessary 
assumption. It is not so much proved to him, as 
borne in upon his mind irresistibly, as a truth 
which it does not occur to him, nor is possible 
for him, to doubt ; so various and so abundant 
is the witness for it contained in the experience 


and the conscience of every one. He cannot 
unravel the process, or put his finger on the 
independent arguments, which conspire together 
to create in him the certainty which he feels ; 
but certain of it he is, and he has neither the 
temptation nor the wish to doubt it, and he 
could, should need arise, at least point to the 
books or the persons from whence he could obtain 
the various formal proofs on which the being of a 
God rested, and the irrefragable demonstration 
thence resulting against the freethinker and the 
sceptic. At the same time he certainly would 
find, if he was in a condition to pursue the sub- 
ject himself, that unbelievers had the advantage 
of him so far as this, — that there were a number 
of objections to the doctrine which he could not 
satisfy, questions which he could not solve, mys- 
teries which he could neither conceive nor explain; 
he would perceive that the body of proof itself 
might be more perfect and complete than it is ; he 
would not find indeed anything to invalidate that 
proof, but many things which might embarrass him 
in discussion, or afford a plausible, though not a 
real, excuse for doubting about it. 

The case is pretty much the same as regards 
the great moral law of God. We take it for 
granted, and rightly ; what could we do, where 
should w^e be, without it ? how could we conduct 
ourselves, if there were no difference between 


right and wrong, and if one action were as accep- 
table to our Creator as another ? Impossible! if 
anything is true and divine, the rule of conscience 
is such, and it is frightful to suppose the contrary. 
Still, in spite of this, there is quite room for ob- 
jectors to insinuate doubts about its authority or 
its enunciations ; and where an inquirer is cold 
and fastidious, or careless, or wishes an excuse for 
disobedience, it is easy for him to perplex and 
disorder his reason, till he begins to question 
whether what he has all his life thought to be 
sins, are really such, and. whether conscientious- 
ness is not in fact a superstition. 

And in like manner as regards the Catholic 
Church ; she bears upon her the tokens of divi- 
nity, which come home to any mind at once, 
which has not been possessed by prejudice, and 
educated in suspicion. It is not so much a pro- 
cess of inquiry as an instantaneous recognition, 
on which the mind believes. Moreover, it is pos- 
sible to analyze the arguments and draw up in 
form the great proof, on which her claims rest ; 
but, on the other hand, it is quite possible also 
for opponents to bring forward certain imposing 
objections, which, though they do not really 
interfere with those claims, still are specious in 
themselves, and are sufficient to arrest and 
entangle the mind, and to keep it back from a fair 
examination of the proof, and of the vast array of 


arguments of which it consists. I am alluding 
to such objections as the following: — How can 
Almighty God be Three and yet One ; how can 
Christ be God and yet man ; how can He be at 
once in the Blessed Sacrament under the form of 
Bread and Wine, and yet in heaven ; how is the 
doctrine of eternal punishment consistent with 
the Infinite Mercy of God ; — or again, how is it 
that, if the Catholic Church is from God, the gift 
of belonging to her is not, and has not been, 
granted to all men ; how is it that so many appa- 
rently good men are external to her ; why does 
she pay such honour to the Blessed Virgin and 
all Saints ; how is it that, since the Bible also 
is from God, it admits of being quoted in opposition 
to her teaching ; — in a word, how is it, if she is 
from God, that every thing which she does, and 
says, is not perfectly intelligible to man ; intelli- 
gible, not only to man in general, but to the 
reason, and judgment, and taste of every indi- 
vidual of the species, taken one by one ? 

Now, whatever my anxiety may be about the 
next generation, I trust I need at present have none 
in insisting, before a congregation however mixed, 
on the mysteries or difficulties which attach to 
the doctrine of God's existence, and which must 
be of necessity acquiesced in by every one who 
believes it. I trust, and am sure, that as yet it is 
safe even to put before a Protestant some of the 


wonders which he is obliged to accept, whether 
he will or no, when he confesses that there is a 
God. I am going to do so, not wantonly, but 
with a definite object, by way of showing him, 
that he is not called on to believe anything in the 
Catholic Church more strange or inexplicable 
than he already admits when he believes in a 
God ; so that, if God exists in spite of the diffi- 
culties attending the doctrine, so the Church may 
be of divine origin, though that doctrine too 
has its difficulties ; — nay, I might even say, the 
Church is divine, because of those difficulties ; for 
the difficulties which exist in the doctrine that 
there is a Divine Being, do but give countenance 
and protection to parallel difficulties in the doc- 
trine that there is a Catholic Church. If there 
be mysteriousness in her teaching, this does but 
show that she proceeds from Him, who is Himself 
Mystery, in the most simple and elementary ideas 
which we have of Him, whom we cannot contem- 
plate at all except as One who is absolutely 
greater than our reason, and utterly strange to 
our imagination. 

First then, consider that Almighty God had no 
beginning, and that this is necessary from the 
nature of the case, and inevitable. For if (to 
suppose what is absurd) the maker of the visible 
world was himself made by some other maker, 
and that maker again by another, you must any 


how come at last to a first Maker who had no 
maker, that is, who had no beginning. If you 
will not admit this, you will be forced to say that 
the world was not made at all, or made itself, and 
itself had no beginning, which is more wonderful 
still ; for it is much easier to conceive that a 
Spirit, such as God is, existed from eternity, than 
that this material world was eternal. Unless then 
we are resolved to doubt that we live in a world 
of beings at all, unless we doubt our own exist- 
ence, if we do but grant that there is something 
or other now existing, it follows at once, that 
there must be something or other which has always 
existed, and never had a beginning. This then is 
certain from the necessity of the case ; but can 
there be a more overwhelming mystery than it 
is ? To say that a being had no beginning seems 
a contradiction in terms ; it is a mystery as 
great, or rather greater, than any in the Catholic 
Faith. For instance, it is the teaching of the 
Church that the Father is God, the Son God, and 
the Holy Ghost God, yet that there is but One 
God ; this is simply incomprehensible to us, but, 
at least so far as this, it involves no self-contradic- 
tion, because God is not Three and One in the 
same sense, but He is Three in one sense and 
One in another ; on the contrary, to say that any 
being has no beginning, is like a statement which 
means nothing, and is an absurdity. And so 


again, Protestants think that the Cathohc doctrine 
of the Real Presence cannot be true, because, if 
so, they argue that our Lord's Body is in two 
places at once, in Heaven and upon the Altar, 
and this they say is an impossibility. Now, 
Cathohcs do not see that it is impossible at all, 
that our Lord should be in Heaven yet on the 
•Altar ; they do not indeed see how it can be, but 
they do not see why it should not be ; there are 
many things which exist, though we do not know 
how ; — do we know how anything exists ? — there 
are many truths which are not less truths because 
we cannot picture them to ourselves or conceive 
them ; but at any rate, the Catholic doctrine con- 
cerning the Real Presence is not more mysterious 
than how Almighty God can exist, yet never have 
come into existence. We do not know what is 
meant by saying that Almighty God will have no 
end, but still there is nothing here to distress or 
confuse our reason, but it distorts our mental sight 
and makes our head giddy to have to say, (what 
nevertheless we cannot help saying,) that He had 
no beginning. Reason brings it home clearly to us, 
yet reason again starts at it ; reason starts back from 
its own discovery, yet is obliged to embrace it. It 
discovers, it shrinks, it submits ; such is the state 
of the case, but, I say, they who are obliged to bow 
their neck to this mystery, need not be so sensitive 
about the mysteries of the Catholic Church. 

310 AnrsTERiES of nature [disc. 

Then think of this again, which, though not 
so baffling to the reason, still is most bewildering 
to the imagination ; — that, if the Almighty had 
no beginning He must have Hved a whole eternity 
by Himself. What an awful thought ! for us, 
our happiness lies in looking up to some object or 
pursuing some end ; we, poor mortal men, cannot 
understand a prolonged rest, except as a sort of 
sloth and self-forgetfulness ; we are wearied if we 
meditate for one short hour ; what then is meant 
when it is said, that He, the Great God, passed 
infinite years by Himself ? What was the end of 
His being ? He was His own end ; how incom- 
prehensible ! And since He lived a whole eter- 
nity by Himself, He might, had He so willed, 
never have created anything ; and then from 
eternity to eternity there would have been none 
but He, none to witness Him, none to contemplate 
Him, none to adore and praise Him. How oppres- 
sive to think of ! that there should have been no 
space, no time, no succession, no variation, no 
progression, no scope, no termination ; One 
Infinite Being from first to last, and nothing else ! 
And why He ? Which is the less painful to our 
imagination, the idea of only one Being in exist- 
ence, or of nothing at all ? O, my brethren, 
here is mystery without mitigation, without 
relief ! how severe and frightful ! The mysteries 
of revelation, the Catholic dogmas, inconceivable 


as they are, are most gracious, most loving, laden 
Avith mercy and consolation to us, not only sub- 
lime, but touching and winning ; — such is the 
doctrine that God became man. Incomprehen- 
sible it is, and we can but adore, when we hear 
that the Almighty Being, of whom I have been 
speaking, " who inhabiteth eternity," has taken 
flesh and blood of a Virgin's veins, lain in a 
Virgin's womb, been suckled at a Virgin's breast, 
been obedient to human parents, worked at a 
humble trade, been despised by His own, been 
buiFeted and scourged by His creatures, been 
nailed hand and foot to a Cross, and has died a 
malefactor's death ; and that now, under the form 
of Bread, He should lie upon our Altars, and 
suifer Himself to be hidden in a small tabernacle ! 
Most incomprehensible, but still, while the thought 
overwhelms our imagination, it also overpowers 
our heart ; it is the most subduing, affecting, 
piercing thought which can be pictured to us. It 
thrills through us, and draws our tears, and abases 
us, and melts us into love and affection, when we 
dwell upon it. most tender and compassionate 
Lord ! You see. He puts out of our sight that 
mysteriousness of His which is only awful and 
terrible ; He insists not on His past eternity ; He 
would not scare and trouble His poor children, 
when at length He speaks to them ; no. He does 
but surround Himself with His own infinite 


bountifulness and compassion ; He bids His 
Church tell us only of His mysterious condescen- 
sion. Still our reason, prying, curious reason, 
searches out for us those prior and more austere 
mysteries, which are attached to His being, and 
He suffers it to find them out ; He suffers it, for 
He knows that that same reason, though it recoils 
from them, must put up with them ; He knows, 
that they will be felt by it to be clear, inevitable 
truths, appalling as they are. He suffers it to dis- 
cover them, in order that, both by the parallel and 
by the contrast between what reason infers and 
what the Church reveals, we may be drawn on 
from the awful discoveries of the one to the gra- 
cious announcements of the other ; and in order 
too, that the rejection of revelation may be its 
own punishment, and that they who stumble at 
the Catholic mysteries may be dashed back upon 
the adamantine rocks which base the Throne of 
the Everlasting, and may wrestle with the stern 
conclusions of reason, since they refuse the bright 
consolations of faith. 

And now another difficulty, which reason dis- 
covers, yet cannot explain. Since the world 
exists, and did not ever exist, there was a time 
when the Almighty changed that state of things, 
which had been from all eternity, for another 
state. It was wonderful the He should be by 
Himself for an eternity ; moreover it had been 


wonderful, had He never changed it ; but it is 
wonderful too, that He did change it. It is won- 
derful that, being for an eternity alone. He should 
ever pass from that solitary state, and surround 
Himself with millions upon millions of living 
beings. A state which had been from eternity 
might well be considered unchangeable ; yet it 
ceased, and another superseded it. What end 
could the All-blessed have had in beginning to 
create, and in determining to pass a second 
eternity so differently from the first ? This 
mystery, my brethren, will somewhat resign us, I 
think, to the difficulty of a question sometimes 
put to us by unbelievers, viz., if the Catholic 
Eeligion is from God, why was it set up so late 
in the world's day ? why did some thousands of 
years pass before Christ came, and His gifts 
were poured upon the race of man ? But surely, 
it is not so strange that the Judge of men should 
have changed His dealings towards them " in the 
midst of the years," as that He should have 
changed the history of the heavens in the midst 
of eternity. If creation had a beginning at a 
certain date, why should not redemption ? and if 
we be forced to believe, whether we will or no, 
that there was once an innovation upon the course 
of things on high, and that the universe arose out 
of nothing, and if, even when the earth was 
created, still it remained " empty and void, and 



darkness was upon the face of the deep," what so 
great marvel is it, that there was a fixed period in 
God's inscrutable counsels, during which there 
was " a bond fastened upon all people," and a 
" web drawn over them," and then a date, at 
which the bond of thraldrom was broken, and the 
web of error was unravelled ? 

Well, let us suppose the innovation decreed in 
the eternal purpose of the Most High, and that 
creation is to be ; of whom, my brethren, shall 
it consist ? doubtless of beings who can praise 
and bless Him, who can admire His perfections, 
and obey His will, who will be least unworthy to 
minister about His Throne and to keep Him 
company. Look around, and say how far facts 
bear out this anticipation. There is but one race 
of intelligent beings, of which we have experience 
by nature, and a thousand races which cantiot 
love or worship Him who made them. Millions 
upon millions enjoy their brief span of life, but 
man alone can look up to heaven ; and what is 
man, many though he be, what is he in the 
presence of so innumerable a multitude ? Consi- 
der the abundance of beasts that range the earth, 
of birds under the firmament of heaven, of fish 
in the depths of the ocean, and above all the 
exuberant varieties of insects, which baffle our 
enumeration by their minuteness, and our powers 
of conception by their profusion. Doubtless they 


all show forth the glory of the Creator, as do the 
elements, " fire, hail, snow, and ice, stormy winds, 
which fulfil His word." Yet not one of them has 
a soul, not one of them knows who made it or that 
it is made, not one can render Him any proper 
service, not one can love Him. Indeed how far 
does the whole world come short in all respects 
of what it might be ! it is not even possessed of 
created excellence in fulness. It is stamped with 
imperfection ; every thing indeed is good in its 
kind, for God could create nothing otherwise, 
but how much more fully might He have poured 
His glory and infused His grace into it, how 
much more beautiful and divine a world might 
He have made than that which, after an eternal 
silence, He summoned into being ! Let reason 
answer, I repeat, why is it that He did not sur- 
round Himself with spiritual intelligences, and 
animate every material atom with a soul ? Why 
made He not the very footstool of His Throne 
and the pavement of His Temple of an angelic 
nature, beings who could praise and bless Him, 
while they did Him menial service ? Set man's 
wit and man's imagination to the work of devising 
a world, and you would see, my brethren, what a 
far more splendid design he w^ould submit for it, 
than met the good pleasure of the Omnipotent 
and All-wise. Ambitious architect he would 
have been, if called to build the palace of the 

316 irrsTERiEs of nature [disc. 

Lord of all, in which every single part would 
have been the best conceivable, the colours all 
the brightest, the materials the most costly, and 
the lineaments the most perfect. Pass from man's 
private fancies and ideas and fastidious criticisms 
on the vast subject ; come to facts which are 
before our eyes, and report what meets them. 
We see an universe, material for the most part 
and corruptible, fashioned indeed by laws of infi- 
nite skill, and betokening an All-wise Hand, but 
lifeless and senseless ; huge globes, hurled into 
space, and moving mechanically ; subtle influences, 
penetrating into the most hidden corners and 
pores of the world, as quick and keen as thought, 
yet as helpless as the clay from which thought 
has departed. And next, life without sense ; 
myriads of trees and plants, " the grass of the 
field," beautiful to the eye, but perishable and 
worthless in the sight of heaven. And then, 
when at length we discover sense as well as life, 
what, I repeat, do we see but a greater mystery 
still ? We behold the spectacle of brute nature ; 
of impulses, feelings, propensities, passions, which 
in us are ruled or repressed by a superintending 
reason, but from which, when ungovernable, we 
shrink, as fearful and hateful, because in us they 
would be sin. JVIillions of irrational creatures 
surround us, and it would seem as though the 
Creator had left part of His work in its original 


chaos, SO monstrous are these beings, which move 
and feel and act without reflection and without 
principle. To matter He has given laws ; He 
has divided the moist and the dry, the heavy and 
the rare, the light and the dark ; He has " placed 
the sand as a boundary for the sea, a perpetual pre- 
cept which it shall not pass." He has tamed the 
elements, and made them servants of the universal 
good ; but the brute beasts pass to and fro in 
their wildness and their isolation, no yoke on their 
neck or " bit in their lips," the enemies of all 
they meet, yet without the capacity of self-love. 
They live on each other's flesh by an original 
necessity of their being ; their eyes, their teeth, 
their claws, their muscles, their voice, their walk, 
their structure within, all speak of violence and 
blood. They seem made to inflict pain ; they 
rush on their prey with animosity, and devour it 
with greediness. There is scarce a passion or 
a feeling which is sin in man, but is found 
brute and irresponsible in them. Rage, wanton 
cruelty, hatred, suUenness, jealousy, revenge, 
cunning, mahce, envy, lust, vain-glory, gluttony, 
each has its representative ; and say, O philo- 
sopher of this world, who wouldest fain walk by 
reason only, and scomest the Catholic faith, is it 
not marvellous, or explain it, if thou canst, that 
the All-wise and All-good should have poured 
over the face of His good creation these rude and 


inchoate existences, to look like sinners, though 
they be not ; and they created before man, per- 
haps for an untold period, and dividing the earth 
with him since, and the actual lords of a great 
portion of it even now ? 

The crowning work of God is man ; he is the 
flower and perfection of creation, and made to 
serve and worship his Creator ; look at him then, 
O sages, who scoff at the revealed word, scrutinize 
him, and say in sincerity, is he a fit offering to 
present to the Great God ? I must not speak of 
sin ; you will not acknowledge the term, or will 
explain it away ; yet consider man as he is found 
in the world, and owning, as you must own, that 
the many do not act by rule or principle, and that 
few are any honour to their Maker, seeing, as you 
see, that enmities, frauds, cruelties, oppressions, in- 
juries, excesses are almost the constituents of hu- 
man life, knowing too the wonderful capabilities of 
man, yet their necessary frustration in so brief an 
existence, can you venture to say that the Church's 
yoke is heavy, when you yourselves, viewing the 
Universe from end to end, are compelled, by the 
force of reason, to submit your reason to the con- 
fession that God has created nothing perfect, a 
world of order which is dead and corruptible, a 
world of immortal spirits which is in rebellion ? 

I come then to this conclusion ; — if I must sub- 
mit my reason to mysteries, it is not much matter 


whether it is a mystery more or a mystery less ; 
the main difficulty is to believe at all ; the main 
difficulty to an inquirer is firmly to hold that there 
is a Living God, in spite of the darkness which 
surrounds Him, the Creator, Witness, and Judge 
of men. When once the mind is broken in, as it 
must be, to the behef of a Power above it, when 
once it understands, that it is not itself the mea- 
sure of all things in heaven and earth, it will have 
little difficulty in going forward. I do not say it 
will, or can, go on to other truths, without convic- 
tion ; T do not say it ought to believe the Catholic 
faith without grounds and motives ; but I say 
that, when once it believes in God, the great 
obstacle to faith has been taken away, — a proud, 
self-sufficient spirit.. When once a man really, 
with the eyes of his soul and by the power of 
divine grace, recognizes his Creator, he has passed 
a line ; that has happened to him which cannot 
happen twice ; he has bent his stiff neck, and 
triumphed over himself. If he believes that God 
has no beginning, why not believe that He is 
Three yet One ? if he owns that God created 
space, why not own also that He can cause a 
body to subsist without dependence on place ? if 
he is obliged to grant that He created all things 
out of nothing, why doubt His power to change 
the substance of bread into the body of His Son? 
It is as strange that, after an eternal rest. He 


should begin to create, as that, when He once 
created. He should take on Himself a created na- 
ture ; it is as strange that man should be allowed 
to fall so low, as we see before our eyes in so 
many dreadful instances, as that Angels and 
Saints should be exalted even to religious ho- 
nours ; it is as strange that such large families in 
the animal world should be created without souls 
and subject to vanity, as that one creature, the 
Blessed Mother of God, should be exalted over 
all the rest ; as strange, that the book of nature 
should read differently from the rule of con- 
science or the conclusions of reason, as that the 
Scriptures of the Church should admit of being 
interpreted in opposition to her Tradition. And 
if it shocks a religious mind to doubt of the being 
of the All-wise and All-good God, in spite of the 
mysteries in Nature, why may it not shrink also 
from using the revealed mysteries as an argument 
against Revelation ? 

And now, my dear brethren, who are as yet 
external to the Church, if I have brought you as 
far as this, I really do not see why I have not 
brought you on to make your submission to her. 
Can you deliberately sit down amid the bewilder- 
ing mysteries of creation, when a refuge is held 
out to you, in which reason is rewarded for its 
faith by the fulfilment of its hopes ? Nature does 
not exempt you from the trial of believing, but 


it gives you nothing in return ; it does but disap- 
point you. You must submit your reason any 
how ; you are not in better circumstances if you 
turn from the Church ; you merely do not secure 
what you have already sought in nature in vain. 
The simple question to be decided is one of fact, 
has a revelation been given ? You lessen, not 
increase your difficulties by receiving it. It comes 
to you recommended and urged upon you by the 
most favourable anticipations of reason. The 
very difficulties of nature make it likely that a 
revelation should be made ; the very mysteries of 
creation call for some act on the part of the 
Creator, by which those mysteries shall be allevi- 
ated to you or compensated. One of the very 
greatest perplexities of nature is this very one, 
that the Creator should have left you to your 
selves. You know there is a God, yet you know 
your own ignorance of Him, of His will, of your 
duties, of your prospects. A revelation would 
be the greatest of possible boons which could be 
vouchsafed to you. After all, you do not know, 
you only conclude that there is a God ; you see 
Him not, you do but hear of Him. He acts under 
a veil ; He is on the point of manifesting Himself 
to you at every turn, yet He does not. He has 
impressed on your hearts anticipations of His 
majesty ; in every part of creation has He left 
traces of His presence and given glimpses of His 

p 2 


glory ; you come up to the spot, He has been 
there, but He is gone. He has taught you His 
law, unequivocally indeed, but by deduction and 
by suggestion, not by direct command. He has 
always addressed you circuitously, by your inward 
sense, by the received opinion, by the events of 
life, by vague traditions, by dim histories ; but as 
if of set purpose, and by an evident law, He never 
actually appears to your longing eyes or your 
weary heart. He never confronts you with Him- 
self What can be meant by all this ? a spiri- 
tual being abandoned by its Creator! there must 
doubtless be some awful and all-wise reason for 
it ; still a sore trial it is ; so sore surely, that 
you must gladly hail the news of His interference 
to remove or to diminish it. 

The news then of a revelation, far from suspi- 
cious, is borne in upon ourliearts by the strongest 
presumptions of reason in its behalf. It is hard 
to believe that it is not given, as indeed the con- 
duct of mankind has ever shown. You cannot 
help expecting it from the hands of the All-mer- 
ciful, unworthy as you feel yourselves of it. It 
is not that you can claim it, but that He in- 
spires hope of it ; it is not you that are worthy of 
the gift, but it is the gift which is worthy of your 
Creator. It is so urgently probable, that Httle 
evidence is required for it, even though but little 
were given. Evidence that God has spoken you 

Xin.3 AND OF GRACE. 323 

must have, else were you a prey to impostures ; 
but its extreme likelihood allows you, were it 
necessary, to dispense with all proof that is not 
barely sufficient for your purpose. The very 
fact, I say, that there is a Creator, and a hidden 
one, powerfully bears you on and sets you down 
at the very threshold of revelation, and leaves 
you there looking up earnestly for divine tokens, 
that a revelation has been made. 

Do you go with me as far as. this, that a reve- 
lation is probable ? well then, a second remark, 
and I have done. It is this, — the teaching of 
the Church manifestly is that revelation. Why 
should it not be ? This mark has she upon her 
at very first sight, that she is unlike every other 
profession of religion. Were she God's Prophet 
or Messenger, she would be distinctive in her 
characteristics, isolated, and special ; and so she 
is. She is one, not only internally, but in con- 
trast to every thing else ; she has no relationship 
with any other body. And hence too, you see 
the question lies between the Church and no 
divine messenger at all ; there is no revelation 
given us, unless she is the organ of it, for where 
else is there a Prophet to be found ? Your anti- 
cipation, which I have been speaking of, has 
failed, your probability has been falsified, if she 
be not that Prophet of God. I do not say that 
this is an absurdity, for you cannot take it for 


granted that your hope of a revelation will be 
fulfilled ; but in whatever degree it is probable 
that it will be fulfilled, in that degree it is proba- 
ble that the Church, and nothing else, is the 
means of fulfilling it. Nothing else ; for you 
cannot believe in your heart that this or that 
Sect, that this or that Estabhshment is, in its 
teaching and its commands, the oracle of the 
Most High. I know you cannot say in your 
heart, " I belie ve.this or that, because the English 
Establishment or the Scotch declares that it is 
true." Nor could you, I am sure, trust the Rus- 
sian community, or the Nestorian, or the Jaco- 
bite, as speaking from God ; at the utmost you 
might, if you were learned in these matters, look 
on them as venerable depositories of historical 
matter, and witnesses of past ages. You would 
exercise your judgment afid criticism on what 
they said, and would never think of taking their 
word as decisive ; they are in no sense Prophets, 
Oracles, Judges, of supernatural truth ; and the 
contrast between them and the Catholic Church 
is a preliminary evidence in her favour. 

A Prophet is one who comes from God, who 
speaks with authority, who is ever one and the 
same, who is precise and decisive in his state- 
ments, who is equal to successive difficulties, and 
can smite and overthrow error. Such has the 
Catholic Church shown herself in her history. 


such is she at this day. She alone has the divine 
spell of controlling the reason of man, and of 
eliciting faith in her word from high and low, 
educated and ignorant, restless and dull-minded. 
Even those who are alien to her, and whom she 
does not move to obedience, she moves to respect 
and admiration. The most profound thinkers 
and the most sagacious politicians predict her 
future triumphs, while they marvel at her past. 
Her enemies are frightened at the sight of her, 
and have no better mode of warfare against her 
than that of blackening her with slanders, or of 
driving her into the wilderness. To see her is to 
recognize her ; her look and bearing is the evi- 
dence of her royal lineage. True, her tokens 
might be clearer than they are ; I grant it ; she 
might have been set up in Adam, and not in 
Peter ; she might have embraced the whole 
family of man ; she might have been the instru- 
ment of inw^ardly converting all hearts ; she 
might have had no trouble within or misfortune 
without ; she might in short have been a heaven 
on earth ; but, does she not show as glorious in 
our sight as a creature, as her God does as the 
Creator ? If He does not display the highest 
possible tokens of His presence in nature, why 
should His Messenger display hers in grace ? 
You believe the Scriptures ; do not her cha- 
racter and conduct show as divine as Samuel 


does, or as Isaias, or as Jeremias, or as Daniel, or 
in a far higher measure ? Has she not notes far 
more than sufficient for the purpose of convinc- 
ing you ? She takes her rise from the very 
coming of Christ, and receives her charter, as 
also her very form and mission, from His mouth. 
" Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and 
blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My 
Father who is in heaven. And I say unto thee, 
that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will 
build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys 
of the kingdom of heaven ; and whatsoever thou 
shalt bind upon earth, shall be bound also in 
heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, 
shall be loosed also in heaven." Coming to you 
then from the very time of the Apostles, spread- 
ing out into all lands, triumphing over a thousand 
revolutions, exhibiting so awful a unity, glorying 
in so mysterious a \'itality, so majestic, so imper- 
turbable, so bold, so saintly, so sublime, so beau- 
tiful, O ye sons of men, can ye doubt that she is 
the Divine Messenger for whom ye seek ? O 
long sought after, tardily found, desire of the 
eyes, joy of the heart, the truth after many sha- 
dows, the fulness after many foretastes, the home 
after many storms, come to her, poor wanderers, 
for she it is, and she alone, who can unfold the 
meaning of your being and the secret of your des- 

Xni.] AND OF GRACE. 327 

tiny. She alone can open to you the gate of 
heaven, and put you on your way. "Arise, 
shine, O Jerusalem ; for thy light is come, and 
the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee ; for, 
behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and a 
mist the people, but the Lord shall arise upon 
thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee." 
" Open ye the gates, that the just nation, that 
keepeth the truth, may enter in. The old error 
is passed away ; Thou wilt keep peace, — peace, 
because we have hoped in Thee. Lord, Thou 
wilt give peace to us, for Thou has wrought all 
our works for us. O Lord, our God, other lords 
besides Thee have had dominion over us, but in 
Thee only make we mention of Thy Name. The 
dying, let them not live ; the giants, let them 
not rise again ; therefore Thou hast visited and 
broken them, and hast destroyed all the memory 
of them." 

O my brethren, turn away from the Catholic 
Church, and to whom will you go ? it is your only 
chance of peace and assurance in this turbulent, 
changing world. There is nothing between it and 
scepticism, when men exert their reason freely. 
Private creeds, fancy religions, may be showy and 
imposing to the many in their day ; national reli- 
gions may lie huge and lifeless, and cumber the 
ground for centuries, and distract the attention or 
confuse the judgment of the learned; but on the 


long run it will be found that either the Catholic 
Religion is verily and indeed the coming in of the 
unseen world into this, or that there is nothing 
positive, nothing dogmatic, nothing real in any of 
our notions as to whence we come and whither 
we are going. Unlearn Catholicism, and you 
become Protestant, Unitarian, Deist, Pantheist, 
sceptic, in a dreadful, but infallible succession ; 
only not infallible, by some accident of your posi- 
tion, of your education, and of your cast of mind ; 
only not infallible, if you dismiss the subject of 
religion from your mind, deny yourself your reason, 
devote your thoughts to moral duties, or dissipate 
them in engagements of the world. Go, then, and 
do your duty to your neighbour, be just, be chari- 
table, be hospitable, set a good example, uphold 
religion as good for society, pursue your business, 
or your profession, or your pleasure, eat and drink, 
read the news, visit your friends, build and furnish, 
plant and sow, buy and sell, plead and debate, 
work for the world, settle your children, go home 
and die, but eschew religious inquiry, if you will 
not have faith, and hope not to have faith, if you 
will not join the Church. Avoid, I say, inquiry 
else, for it will but lead you thither, where there 
is no light, no peace, no hope ; it will lead you 
to the deep pit, where the sun, and the moon, 
and the stars, and the beauteous heavens are not, 
but chilliness, and barrenness, and perpetual deso- 


lation. O perverse children of men, who refuse 
truth when offered you, because it is not truer ! 
O restless hearts and fastidious intellects, who 
seek a doctrine more salutary than the Redeemer's, 
and a creation more perfect than the Creator's ! 
God, forsooth, is not great enough for you ; you 
have those high aspirations and those philosophical 
notions, inspired by the original Tempter, which 
are content with nothing that is, which determine 
that the Most High is too little for your worship, 
and His attributes too narrow for your love. 
Satan fell by pride ; and what was said of old as 
if of him, may surely now, by way of warning, be 
applied to all who copy him : — "Because thy 
heart is Hfted up, and thou hast said, I am God, 
and I sit in the chair of God in the heart of the 
sea, whereas thou art a man and not God, and hast 
set thy heart as if it were the heart of God, 
therefore .... I will bring thee to nothing, and 
thou shalt not be, and if thou be sought for, thou 
shalt not be found any more for ever." 



The Eternal Word, the Only-begotten Son of the 
Father, put off His glory, and came down upon 
earth, to raise us to heaven. Though He was 
God, He became Man ; though He was Lord of 
all. He became as a servant ; " though He was 
rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we, 
through His poverty, might be rich." He came 
from heaven in so humble an exterior, that the 
self-satisfied Pharisees despised Him, and treated 
Him as a madman or an impostor. When He 
spoke of His father Abraham, and implied His 
knowledge of him, who was in truth but the 
creature of His hands, they said in derision, 
" Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou 
seen Abraham ?" He made answer, " Amen, 
amen, I say unto you. Before Abraham was made, 
I am." He had seen Abraham, who lived two 


thousand years before ; yet He was not therefore 
two thousand years old, more truly than He was 
fifty. He was not two thousand years old, be- 
cause He had no years ; He was the Ancient of 
Days, who never had beginning, and who never 
will have an end ; who is above and beyond time ; 
who is ever young, and ever is beginning, yet 
never has not been, and is as old as He is young, 
and was as old and as young when Abraham 
Uved as when He came on earth in our flesh to 
atone for our sins. And hence He says, " Before 
Abraham was, I am," and not " I was ;" because 
with Him there is no past or future. It cannot 
be possibly said of Him, that He was or that He 
will be, but that He is ; He is always, always the 
same, not older because He has lived two thou- 
sand years in addition, not younger because He 
has not lived them. 

My brethren, if we could get ourselves to enter 
into this high and sacred thought, if we really 
contemplated the Almighty in Himself, then we 
should understand better what His incarnation is 
to us, and what it is in Him. I do not mean, if 
we worthily contemplated Him as He is ; but, 
even if we contemplated Him in such a way as is 
really possible to us, if we did but fix our thoughts 
on Him, and make use of the reason which He 
has given us, we should understand enough of 
His greatness to feel the awfulness of His volun- 


tary self-abasement. Attend, then, while I recall 
to your mind the doctrines which reason and 
revelation combine to teach you about the Most 
High, and then, when you have fixed your mind 
upon His infinity, go on to view, in the hght of 
that infinity, the meaning of His incarnation. 

Now first consider that reason teaches you there 
must be a God ; else how was this all-wonderful 
universe made ? It could not make itself ; man 
could not make it, he is but a part of it ; each 
man has a beginnhig, there must have been a first 
man, and who made him ? To the thought of 
God then we are forced from the nature of the 
case ; we must admit the idea of an Almighty 
Creator, and that Creator must have been from 
everlasting. He must have had no beginning, 
else how came He to be ? Thus we should be in 
our original difficulty, and must begin our argu- 
ment over again. The Creator, I say, had no 
beginning ; for, if He was brought into being by 
another before Him, then how came that other to 
be ? And so we shall proceed in an unprofitable 
series or catalogue of creators, which is as difficult 
to conceive as an endless line of men. Besides, 
if it was not the Creator Himself who was from 
everlasting, then there would be one being who 
was from everlasting, and another who was Crea- 
tor ; which is all one with saying there are two 
Gods. It is least trial then to our reason, it is 


simplest and most natural, to pronounce, that the 
Creator of the world had no beginning ; —and if 
so, He is self-existing ; and if so, He can undergo 
no change. What is self-existing and everlast- 
ing has no growth or decay ; It is what It ever 
was, and ever shall be the same. As It originated 
in nothing else ; nothing else can interfere with 
It or affect It. Besides, every thing that is has 
originated in It ; every thing therefore is de- 
pendent on It, and It is independently of every 

Contemplate then the Supreme Being, the 
Being of beings, even so far as I have yet de- 
scribed Him ; fix the idea of Him in your minds. 
He is one ; He has no rival ; He has no equal ; 
He is unhke anything else ; He is sovereign ; 
He can do w^hat He wiU. He is unchangeable 
from first to last ; He is all-perfect ; He is infinite 
in His power and His wisdom, or He could not 
have made this immense world which we see by 
day and by night. 

Next, this follows from what I have said ; — 
that, since He is from everlasting, and has created 
all things from a certain beginning. He has lived 
in an eternity before He began to create anything. 
What a wonderful thought is this ! there was a 
state of things in which God was by Himself, and 
nothing else but He. There was no earth, no 
sky, no sun, no stars, no space, no time, no beings 


of any kind ; no men, no Angels, no Seraphim. 
His throne was without ministers ; He was not 
waited on by any ; all was silence, all was repose, 
there was nothing but God ; and this state con- 
tinued, not for a while only, but for a measureless 
duration ; it was a state which had ever been ; it 
was the rule of things, and creation has been 
an innovation upon it. Creation is, comparatively 
speaking, but of yesterday ; it has lasted a poor 
six thousand years, say sixty thousand, if you will, 
or six million, or six million million ; what is this 
to eternity ? nothing at all ; not so much as a 
drop compared to the whole ocean, or a grain of 
sand to the whole earth. I say, through a whole 
eternity God was by Himself, with no other being 
but Himself ; with nothing external to Himself, 
not working, but at rest, not speaking, not receiv- 
ing homage from any, not glorified in creatures, 
but blessed in Himself and by Himself, and 
wanting nothing. 

What an idea this gives us of the Almighty ! 
He is above us, my brethren, we feel He is ;. how 
little can we understand Him ! We fall in even 
with men upon earth, whose ways are so different 
from our own, that we cannot understand them ; 
we marvel at them ; they pursue courses so unlike 
ours, they take recreations so peculiar to them- 
selves, that we despair of finding anything in 
common between them and ourselves ; we cannot 


make conversation when we are with them. 
Thus stirring and ambitious men wonder at those 
who hve among books ; sinners wonder at those 
who attend the Sacraments and mortify their 
passions ; thrifty persons wonder at those who 
are lavish of their money ; men who love society 
wonder at those who live in solitude and are happy 
in it. We cannot enter "even into our fellows ; 
we call them strange and incomprehensible ; but 
what are they, compared with the all-marvellous- 
ness of the Everlasting God ? He alone indeed 
is incomprehensible, who has not only lived an 
eternity .without beginning, but who has lived 
through a whole eternity by Himself, and has not 
wearied of the solitude. Which of us, or how 
few of us, could live a week in comfort by our- 
selves ? You have heard, my brethren, of soli- 
tary confinement as a punishment assigned to 
criminals, and at length it becomes more severe 
than any other punishment : it is said at length 
to make men mad. We cannot live without 
objects, without aims, without employments, 
without companions. We cannot live simply in 
ourselves ; the mind preys upon itself, if left to 
itself. This is the case with us mortal men ; 
now raise your minds to God. O the vast con- 
trast ! He lived a whole eternity in that state, 
a few poor years of which to us is madness. 
He lived a whole eternity without change of 


any kind. Day and night, sleep and meal-time, 
at least are changes, unavoidable changes, in 
the life of the most solitary upon earth. A 
prison, if it has nothing else to relieve its dreari- 
ness and its hopelessness, has at least this, that 
the poor prisoner sleeps ; he sleeps, and suspends 
his misery ; he sleeps, and recruits his power of 
bearing it ; but the Eternal is the sleepless. He 
pauses not, he suspends not His powers. He is 
never tired of Himself ; He is never wearied of 
His own infinity. He was from eternity ever in 
action, though ever at rest ; ever surely in rest 
and peace profound and ineffable ; yet with a 
living, present mind, self-possessed, and all-con- 
scious, comprehending Himself and sustaining 
the comprehension. He rested ever, but He 
rested in Himself ; His own resource. His own 
end. His own contemplation. His own blessedness. 
Yes, so it was ; and if it is incomprehensible 
that He should have existed solitary through an 
eternity, is it not incomprehensible too, that He 
should have ever given up that solitariness, and 
have willed to surround Himself with creation ? 
Why was He not content to be as He had been ? 
why did He bring into existence those who could 
not add to His blessedness, and were not secure 
of their own ? Why did He give them that 
gift which we see they possess, of doing right 
or wrong as they please, and of working out their 


ruin as well as their salvation ? why did He create 
a world like that which is before our eyes, which 
at best so dimly shows forth His glory, and at 
worst is a scene of sin and sorrow ? He might 
have made a far more excellent world than this ; 
He might have excluded sin ; but, O wonderful 
mystery, He has surrounded Himself with the 
cries of fallen souls, and has created and opened 
the great pit. He has willed, after an eternity of 
peace, to allow of everlasting anarchy, of pride, 
and blasphemy, and guilt, and hatred of Himself, 
and the worm that dieth not. Thus He is simply 
incomprehensible to us, mortal men ; well might 
the ancient heathen shrink from answering, when 
a king, his patron, asked him what God was! 
He begged for a day to consider his reply ; at the 
end of it, for two more ; and, when the two were 
ended, for four besides ; for in truth he found 
that meditation, instead of bringing him towards 
the solution of the problem, did but drive him 
back ; the more he questioned, the vaster grew 
the theme, and where he drew one conclusion, 
thence issued forth a hundred fresh difficulties to 
confound his reason. For in truth the being and 
attributes of God are a subject, not for reason 
simply, but for faith ; and we must accept His 
own word about Himself. 

And now proceed to another thought, my bre- 
thren, which I have partly implied and partly ex- 



pressed already. If the Almighty Creator be 
such as I have described Him, He in no wise 
depends on His creatures. They sin, they perish, 
they are saved, they praise Him eternally ; but, 
though He loves all the creatures of His hand, 
though He visits all of them without exception 
with influences of His grace so numerous and so 
urgent, that not till the disclosures of the last day 
shall we rightly conceive of them ; though He 
deigns to be glorified in His Saints, though He 
is their all in all, their continued life, and power, 
and blessedness, still they are nothing to Him. 
They do not increase His happiness if they are 
saved, or diminish it if they are lost. I do not 
mean that He is at a distance from them ; He 
does not so live in Himself as to abandon the 
creation to the operation of laws which He has 
stamped upon it. No ; He is everywhere a 
vigilant and active Providence ; He is in every 
one of His creatures, and in every one of their 
actions ; if He were not in them, they would fall 
back into nothing. He is every where on earth, 
and sees every crime committed whether under 
the sun or in the gloom of night ; He is even 
the sustaining power of those who sin ; He is most 
close to every the most polluted soul ; He is in 
the midst of the eternal prison ; but what I mean 
to say is, that nothing touches Him, though He 
touches all things. The sun's rays penetrate 


into the most hideous recesses, yet keep their 
brightness and their perfection ; and so the 
Almighty witnesses and suffers evil, yet is not 
touched or tried by the creature's wilfulness, 
pride, uncleanness, or unbelief. The lusts of earth 
and the blasphemies of hell neither sully His 
purity nor impair His majesty. If the whole world 
were to go and plunge into the eternal gulf, the 
loss would be theirs, not His. In the dread con- 
test between good and evil, whether the Church 
conquers at once, or is oppressed for the time, 
and labours, whether she is in persecution, or in 
triumph, or in peace, whether His enemies hold 
out or are routed, when the innocent sin, when 
the just are falling, when good Angels weep, when 
souls are hardened. He is one and the same. 
He is in His blessedness still, and not even the 
surface is ruffled of His everlasting rest. He 
neither hopes nor fears, nor desires, nor sorrows, 
nor repents. All around Him seems full of 
agitation and confusion, but in His eternal decrees 
and infallible foreknowledge there is nothing con- 
tingent, nothing uncertain, nothing which is not 
part of one vast plan, as fixed in its issue and as 
unchangeable, as His own essence. 

Such is the great God, so all-sufficient, so all- 
blessed, so separate from creatures, so inscrutable, 
so unapproachable. Who can see Him ? who can 
fathom Him ? who can move Him ? who can 


change Him ? who can even speak of Him ? He is 
all holy, all patient, all serene, and all true. He 
says and he does ; He delays and He executes ; 
He warns and He punishes ; He punishes. He 
rewards, He forbears, He pardons, according to 
an eternal decree, without imperfection, without 
vacillation, without inconsistency. 

And now that I have set before you, my bre- 
thren, in human language, some of the attributes 
of the Adorable God, perhaps you are tempted to 
complain that, instead of winning you to the All- 
glorious and All-good, I have but repelled you 
from Him. You are tempted to exclaim, — He is 
so far above us that the thought of Him does but 
frighten me ; I cannot believe that He cares for 
me. I believe firmly that He is infinite perfec- 
tion ; and I love that perfection, not so much 
indeed as I could wish, — still in my measure I 
love it for its own sake, and I wish to love it above 
all things, and I well understand that there is no 
creature, but must love it in his measure, unless he 
has fallen from grace. But there are two feelings, 
which, alas, I have a difficulty in entertaining ; I 
believe and I love, but without fervour, without 
keenness, because my heart is not kindled by hope, 
nor subdued and melted with gratitude. Hope 
and gratitude I wish to have, and have not ; I 
know that He is loving towards all His works, 
but how am I to believe that He gives to me per- 


sonally a thought, and cares for me for my own 
sake ? I am beneath His love ; He looks on me 
as an atom in a vast universe. He acts by 
general laws, and, if He is kind to me, it is, not 
for my sake, but because it is according to His 
nature to be kind. And hence it is that I am 
drawn over to sinful man with an intenser feeling 
than to my glorious Maker. Kings and great 
men upon earth, when they appear in public, are 
not content with a mere display of their splendour, 
they show themselves as well as their glories ; 
they look around them ; they notice individuals ; 
they have a kind eye, or a courteous gesture, or an 
open hand, for all who come near them. They 
scatter among the crowd the largess of their 
smiles and of their words. And then men go 
home, and tell their friends, and treasure up to 
their latest day, how that so great a personage 
took notice of them or of a child of theirs, or 
accepted a present at their hand, or gave expres- 
sion to some sentiment, without point in itself, but 
precious as addressed to them. Thus does my 
fellow man engage and win me ; but there is a 
gulf between me and my great God. I shall fall 
back on myself, and grovel in my nothingness, till 
He looks down from heaven, till He calls me, till 
He takes interest in me. It is a want in my 
nature to have one who can weep with me, and 
rejoice with me, and in a way minister to me ; 


and this would be presumption in me, and worse, 
to hope to find in the Infinite and Eternal 

This is what you may be tempted to say, my 
brethren, not without impatience, while you con- 
template the Almighty, as the conscience pour- 
trays Him, and as reason concludes about Him, 
and as creation witnesses of Him ; and I have 
dwelt on it, in order, by way of contrast, to set 
before you, as I proposed when I began, how 
your complaint is answered, in the great mystery 
of the Incarnation. Never suppose that you are 
left by God ; never suppose that He does not 
know you, your minds and your powers, better 
than you do yourselves. Ought you not to think, 
that, if the complaint be true. He has thought of 
it before you ? " Before they call, I will attend," 
says He, " and while they speak, I will hear." 
Add this to your general notion of His incom- 
prehensibility, viz. that though He is infinite. 
He can bow Himself to the finite ; have faith in 
the mystery of His condescension ; confess that, 
though He " inhabiteth eternity," He " dwelleth 
with a contrite and humble spirit," and " looketh 
down upon the lowly." Give up this fretfulness, 
quit these self-consuming thoughts, go out of 
yourselves, lift up your eyes, look around, and 
see if you can discern nothing more hopeful, more 
gracious in this wide world, than these perplexities 


over which you have been brooding. No, my 
brethren, we are so constituted by our Maker, 
that we can love Him for His own sake, and He 
has given us means of doing so. He has not 
founded our worship of Him in hope, nor made 
self-interest the measure of our veneration. And 
we have eyes to see much more than the diffi- 
culties of His essence ; and the great disclosures 
of Him, which nature begins, revelation brings to 
perfection. Lift up your eyes, I say, and look 
out even upon the material world, and there you will 
see one attribute above others on its very face 
which will reverse your sad meditations on Him 
who made it. He has traced out many of His 
attributes upon it. His immensity, His wisdom. 
His power, His loving-kindness, and His skill ; 
but more than all, its very face is illuminated 
with the glory and beauty of His eternal excel- 
lence. This is that attribute in which all His 
attributes coalesce, which is the perfection, or (as 
I may say) the flower and bloom of their com- 
bination. As among men youth, and health, and 
vigour, have their finish in that grace of outline, 
and lustre of complexion, and eloquence of ex- 
pression, which we call beauty, so in the Al- 
mighty God, though we cannot comprehend His 
holy attributes, and shrink from their unfathom- 
able profound, yet we can, as creatures, recognize 
and rejoice in the brightness, harmony, and 


serenity, which is their resulting excellence. 
This is that quality which, by the law of our 
nature, is ever able to draw us off ourselves in 
admiration, which moves our affections, which 
wins from us a disinterested homage ; and it is 
shed in profusion, in token of its Creator, over 
the visible world. 

Leave then the prison of your own reasonings, 
leave the town, the work of man, the haunt of 
sin ; go forth, my brethren, far from the tents of 
Cedar and the slime of Babylon ; with the patri- 
arch go forth to meditate in the field, and from 
the splendours of the work imagine the unimagin- 
able glory of the Architect. Mount some bold 
eminence, and look back, when the sun is high 
and full upon the earth, when mountains, cliffs, 
and sea, rise up before you like a brilliant pageant, 
with outlines noble and graceful, and tints and 
shadows soft, clear, and harmonious, giving depth 
and unity to the whole ; and then go through the 
forest, or fruitful field, or along meadow and 
stream, and listen to the distant country sounds, 
and drink in the fragrant air which is poured 
around you in spring or summer ; or go among 
the gardens, and delight your senses with the 
grace and splendour, and the various sweetness 
of the flowers you find there ; then think of the 
almost mysterious influence upon the mind of 
particular scents, or the emotion which some 


gentle, peaceful strain excites in us, or how soul 
and body are rapt and carried away captive by the 
concord of musical sounds, where the ear is open 
to their power ; and then, when you have ranged 
through sights, and sounds, and odours, and your 
heart kindles, and your voice is full of praise and 
worship, reflect, not that they tell you nothing of 
their Maker, but that they are the poorest and 
dimmest glimmerings of His glory, and the very 
refuse of His exuberant riches, and but the 
dusky smoke which precedes the flame, com- 
pared with Him who made them. Such is the 
Creator in His Eternal Uncreated Beauty, that, 
were it given to us to behold it, we should die of 
very rapture at the sight. Moses, unable to 
forget the token of it he had once seen in the 
Bush, asked to see it fully, and on this very account 
was refused. " He said. Show me Thy glory ; 
and He said. Thou canst not see My Face ; for 
man shall not see Me and live." When Saints 
have been favoured with glimpses of it, it has 
thrown them into ecstasy, broken their poor frame 
of dust and ashes, and pierced it through with such 
keen distress, that they have cried out to God, 
in the very midst of their transports, that He 
would hold His hand, and, in tenderness to them, 
check the abundance of His consolations. What 
Saints partake in fact, we enjoy in thought and 
meditation ; and even that mere reflection of 



God's glory is sufficient to sweep away the 
gloomy, envious thoughts of Him, which circle 
round us, and to lead us to forget ourselves in the 
contemplation of the All-beautiful. He is so 
bright, so majestic, so serene, so harmonious, so 
pure ; He so surpasses, as being its architype and 
fulness, all that is graceful, gentle, sweet, and fair 
on earth ; His voice is so touching, and His 
smile so winning while so awful, that we need 
nothing more than to gaze and listen, and be 
happy. Say not this is not enough for love and joy; 
even in sights of this earth, the pomp and cere- 
monial of royalty is sufficient for the beholder ; 
he needs nothing more than to be allowed to see ; 
and were we but admitted to the courts of heaven, 
the sight of Him, ever transporting, ever new, 
though He addressed us not, would be our meat 
and drink to all eternity. 

And if He has so constituted us, that, in spite 
of the abyss which lies between Him and us, in 
spite of the mystery of His attributes and the 
feebleness of our reason, the very vision of Him 
dispels all doubt, allures our shrinking souls, and 
is our everlasting joy, what shall we say, my 
brethren, when we are told that He has also 
condescended to take possession of us and to 
rule us by means of hope and gratitude, those 
" cords of Adam," by which one man is bound to 
another ? You say that God and man never can 


be one, that man cannot bear the sight and touch 
of His Creator, nor the Creator condescend to the 
feebleness of the creature ; but blush and be 
confounded to hear, O peevish, restless hearts, 
that He has come down from His high throne and 
humbled Himself to the creature, in order that 
the creature might be inspired and strengthened to 
rise to Him. It was not enough to give man 
grace ; it was little to impart to him a celestial 
light, and a sanctity such as Angels had received ; 
little to create Adam in original justice, with a 
nature superadded to his own, with an intellect 
which could know God and a soul which could 
love Him ; He purposed even in man's first state 
of innocence a higher mercy which in the fulness 
of time was to be accomplished in his behalf It 
became the Wisdom of God, who is the eternally 
glorious and beautiful, to impress these attributes 
upon men by His very presence and personal in- 
dwelling in their flesh, that, as He was by nature the 
Only-begotten Image of the Father, so He might 
also become " the First-born of every creature." 
It became Him, who is higher than the highest, to 
show that even humility, if it dare be said, was in 
the number of His attributes, by taking Adam's 
nature upon Himself, and manifesting Himself to 
men and Angels in it. It became Him, of whom 
are all things, and who is in all things, not to 
create new natures, which had not been before, 


inconstant spirit and corruptible matter, without 
taking them to Himself and uniting them to the 
Person of God. And see, my brethren, when 
you complain that we men are cut off from God, 
see that He has done more for you than He has 
done for those " who are greater in strength and 
power." The Angels surpass us in their original 
nature ; they are immortal spirits, and we are 
subject to death ; they have been visited by 
larger measures of God's grace, and they serve in 
His heaven, and are blessed by the vision of His 
face ; yet " He took not on Him the nature of 
Angels;" He turned aside from the eldest-born 
of creation, He chose the younger. He chose him 
in whom an immortal spirit was united to a frail 
and perishable body. He turned aside to him 
whom an irritable, wayward, dim-sighted, and 
passionate nature rendered less worthy of His 
love ; He turned to Him ; He made " the first 
last, and the last first ;" "He raised the needy 
from the earth, and lifted the poor out of the 
mire," and bade Angels bow down in adoration 
to a material form, for it was His. 

Well, my brethren, your God has taken on 
Him your nature, and now prepare yourselves to 
see in human flesh that glory and that beauty on 
which the Angels gaze. Since you are to see 
Emmanuel, since " the brilliancy of the Eternal 
Light and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, 


and the Image of His goodness," is to walk the 
earth, since the Son of the Highest is to be born 
of woman, since the manifold attributes of the 
Infinite are to be poured out before your eyes 
through material channels and the operations of 
a human soul, since He, whose contemplation did 
but trouble you in nature, is coming to take you 
captive by a manifestation which is both intelligi- 
ble to you and a pledge that He loves you one by 
one, raise high your expectations, for surely they 
cannot suffer disappointment. Doubtless, you 
will say. He will take a form such as " eye hath 
not seen, nor ear heard of" before. It will be a 
body framed in the heavens, and only committed 
to the custody of Mary ; a form of light and 
glory, worthy of Him, who is " blessed for ever- 
more" and comes to bless us with His presence. 
Pomp and pride of men He may indeed despise ; 
we do not look for Him in kings' courts, or in the 
array of war, or in the philosophic school ; but 
doubtless He will choose some calm and holy spot, 
and men will go out thither and find their Incar- 
nate God. He will be tenant of some paradise, 
like Adam or Elias, or He will dwell in the mystic 
garden of the Canticles, where nature ministers 
its best and purest to its Creator. " The fig-tree 
will put forth her green figs, the vines in flower 
yield their sweet smell ;" " spikenard and saffron" 
will be there ; " the sweet cane and cinnamon, 


myrrh and aloes, with all the chief perfumes ;" 
" the glory of Libanus, the beauty of Carmel," 
before " the glory of the Lord and the beauty 
of our God." There will He show Himself at 
stated times, with Angels for His choristers and 
Saints for His door-keepers, to the poor and 
needy, to the humble and devout, to those who 
have kept their innocence undefiled, or have 
purged their sins away by long penance and 
masterful contrition. 

Such would be the conjecture of man, at fault 
when he speculated on the height of God, and now 
again at fault when He anticipates the depth. 
He thinks that a royal glory is the note of His 
presence upon earth ; lift up your eyes, my bre- 
thren, and answer whether he has guessed aright. 
O incomprehensible in eternity and in time ! 
solitary in heaven, and solitary upon earth ! 
" Who is This, that cometh from Edom, with 
dyed garments from Bozra ? Why is Thy cloak 
red, and Thy garments like theirs that tread in 
the wine-fat?" The Maker of man, the Wisdom 
of God, has come, not in strength, but in weak- 
ness. He has come, not to assert a claim, but to 
pay a debt. Instead of wealth, He has come 
poor; instead of honour, He has come in igno- 
miny ; instead of blessedness. He has come to 
suffer. He has been delivered over from His 
birth to pain and contempt ; His delicate frame 


is worn down by cold and heat, by hunger and 
sleeplessness ; His hands are rough and bruised 
with a mechanic's toil; His eyes are dimmed with 
weeping ; His Name is cast out as evil. He is 
flung amid the throng of men ; He wanders 
from place to place ; He is the companion of 
sinners. He is followed by a mixed multitude, 
who care more for meat and drink than for His 
teaching, or by a city's populace which deserts 
Him in the day of trial. And at length "the 
Brightness of God's glory and the Image of His 
Substance" is fettered, haled to and fro, buffeted, 
spit upon, mocked, cursed, scourged, and tortured. 
" He hath no beauty nor comeliness ; He is 
despised and the most abject of men, a man of 
sorrows and acquainted with infirmity ;" nay He 
is a " leper, and smitten of God, and humbled." 
And so His clothes are torn off, and He is lifted 
up upon the bitter Cross, and there He hangs, a 
spectacle for profane, impure, and savage eyes, 
and a mockery for the evil spirit whom He had 
cast down into hell. 

O wayward man ! discontented first that thy 
God is far from thee, discontented again when He 
has drawn near, complaining first that He is high, 
complaining next that He is low, — unhumbled 
being, when wilt thou cease to make thyself thine 
own centre, and learn that God is infinite in all 
He does, infinite when He reigns in heaven. 


infinite when He serves on earth, exacting our hom- 
age in the midst of His Angels, and winning hom- 
age from us in the midst of sinners? Adorable He 
is in His eternal rest, adorable in the glory of His 
court, adorable in the beauty of His works, most 
adorable of all, most royal, most persuasive in His 
deformity. Think you not, my brethren, that to 
Mary, when she held Him in her maternal arms, 
when she gazed on the pale countenance and the 
dislocated limbs of her God, when she traced the 
wandering lines of blood, when she counted the 
weals, the bruises, and the wounds, which dis- 
honoured that virginal flesh, think you not that to 
fier eyes it was more beautiful than when she first 
worshipped it, pure, radiant, and fragrant, on the 
night of His nativity ? Dilecfus mens candidus 
et rubicundus, as the Church sings ; " My beloved 
is white and ruddy ; His whole form doth breathe 
of love, and doth provoke to love in turn ; His 
drooping head. His open palms, and His breast all 
bare. My beloved is white and ruddy, choice out 
of thousands ; His head is of the finest gold ; His 
locks are branches of palm-trees, black as a raven. 
His eyes as doves upon brooks of waters, which 
are washed with milk, and sit beside the plentiful 
streams. His cheeks are as beds of spices set by 
the perfumers ; His lips are lilies dropping choice 
myrrh. His hands are turned and golden, full of 


jacinths ; His throat is most sweet, and He is all 
lovely. Such is my Beloved, and He is my friend, 

ye daughters of Jerusalem." 

So is it, O dear and gracious Lord ; " the day 
of death is better than the day of birth, and 
better is the house of mourning than the house of 
feasting." Better for me that Thou shouldest 
come thus abject and dishonourable, than hadst 
Thou put on a body fair as Adam's when he 
came out of Thy Hand. Thy glory sullied. Thy 
beauty marred, those five wounds welling out 
blood, those temples torn and raw, that broken 
heart, that crushed and livid frame, they teach me 
more, than wert Thou Solomon " in the diadem 
wherewith his mother crowned him in the day 
of his heart's joy." The gentle and tender ex- 
pression of that Countenance is no new beauty, or 
created grace ; it is but the manifestation, in a 
human form, of attributes which have been from 
everlasting. Thou canst not change, O Jesus ; 
and, as Thou art still mystery, so wast Thou 
always love. I cannot comprehend Thee more 
than I did, before I saw Thee on the Cross ; but 

1 have gained my lesson. I have before me the 
proof, that in spite of Thy awful nature, and the 
clouds and darkness which surround it. Thou 
canst think of me with a personal aflPection. " Let 
us love God," says Thy Apostle, " because He 
first hath loved us." I can love Thee now from 


first to last, though from first to last I cannot 
understand Thee. As I adore Thee, O Lover of 
souls in Thy humiliation, so will I admire Thee 
and embrace Thee in Thy infinite and ever- 
lasting power. 



We all know well and firmly hold, that our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the Cross 
in satisfaction for our sins. This truth is the 
great foundation of all our hopes, and the object 
of our most earnest faith and most loving worship. 
And yet, however well we know it, it is a subject 
which admits of drawing out, and insisting on in 
detail, in a way which most persons will feel pro- 
fitable to themselves. I shall now attempt to do 
this in some measure, and to follow the reflections 
to which it leads ; though at this season* many 
words would be out of place. 

Christ died for our sins, for the sins of the 
whole world ; but He need not have died, for 

* Passion-tide. 


the Almighty God might have saved us all, might 
have saved the whole world, without His dying. 
He might have pardoned and brought to heaven 
every individual child of Adam, without the incar- 
nation and death of His Son. He might have 
saved us without any ransom and without any 
delay. He might have abolished original sin, and 
restored Adam at once. His word had been 
enough ; with Him to say is to do. " All things 
art possible to Thee," was the very reason our 
Lord gave in His agony, for asking that the cha- 
lice might pass from Him. As in the beginning 
He said, " Let light be made, and it was made ;" 
so might He have spoken, and sin would have 
vanished from the soul, and guilt with it. Or He 
might have employed a mediator less powerful 
than His own Son ; He might have accepted the 
imperfect satisfaction of some mere man. He 
wants not for resources ; but He willed otherwise. 
He who ever does the best, saw in His infinite 
wisdom that it was expedient and fitting to take a 
ransom. As He has not hindered the reprobate 
from resisting His grace and rejecting redemp- 
tion, so He has not pardoned any who are to 
enter His eternal kingdom without a true and 
sufficient satisfaction for their sin. Both in the 
one case and the other. He has done, not what 
was possible merely, but what was best. And 
this is why the coming of the Word was neces- 


sary ; for if a true satisfaction was to be made, 
then nothing could accomplish this, short of the 
incarnation of the All-holy. 

You see then, my brethren, how voluntary was 
the mission and death of our Lord ; if an instance 
can be imagined of voluntary suffering, it is this. 
He came to die when He need not have died ; 
He died to satisfy for what might have been par- 
doned without satisfaction ; He paid a price, 
which need not have been asked, nay, which 
needed to be accepted* when paid. It may be 
said with truth, that, rigorously speaking, one 
being can never, by his own suffering, simply 
discharge the debt of another's sin.f Accordingly 

♦ Dicendum videtur satisfactionem Christi, licet fuerit 
rigorosa quoad aequalitatem et condignitatem pretii soluti, 
non tamen fuisse rigorosam quoad modum solutionis, sed 

indiguisse aliqua gratia libera Dei Si aliquis ita 

peccavit, ut juste puniatur exilio unius mensis,et velit redimere 
pecunitl illud exilium, ofFeratque summam sequivalentem, 
immo excedentera, non dubium quin satisfiat rigori justitise 
vindicativse, si attendas ad mensuram pcenae ; non tamen 
satisfit, si attendas ad modum ; si enim judex gratiose non 
admittat illam compensationem, ^z^s ^aief ex rigore justitias 
punitivse ad exigendum exilium, quantumvis alia ajqualis et 
longe major poena oflferatur. — De Lug. Incarn. iii. 10. 

t Qui redemit captivum solvendo pretium, solvit quantum 
domino debetur ex justitia, solum enim debetur illi pretium ex 
contractu et conventione inter ipsum et redemptorem .... 
Nullum est justitiae debitum cui non satisfiat per solutionem 
illius pretii. At vero pro injuria non solum debetur ex 


He died, not in order to exert a peremptory claim 
on the divine justice, if I may so speak, — as if 
He were bargaining in the market-place or pur- 
suing a plea in a court of law, — but in a more 
loving, generous, munificent way, He shed that 
blood, which was worth ten thousand lives of 
men, worth more than the blood of all the sons of 
Adam heaped together, in accordance with His 
Father's will, who, for wise reasons unrevealed, 
exacted it as the condition of their pardon. 

Nor was this all ; — one drop of His blood had 
been sufficient to satisfy for our sins ; He might 
have offered His circumcision as an atonement, 
and it would have been sufficient ; one moment of 
His agony of blood had been sufficient, one stroke 
of the scourge might have wrought a sufficient 
satisfaction. But neither circumcision, agony, 
nor scourging was our redemption, because He 
did not ofi'er them as such. The price He paid 
was nothing short of the whole treasure of His 
blood, poured forth to the last drop from His 
veins and sacred heart. He shed His whole life 
for us ; He left Himself empty of His all. He 
left His throne on high, He gave up His home 
on earth ; He parted with His Mother, He gave 
His strength and His toil. He gave His body and 

justitia satisfactio utcunque, sed exhibenda ah ipso offensore 
.... sicut nee qui abstulit librum, satisfacit adaequate red- 
dendo pretium aquivalens. — Ibid. iv. 2. 


soul, He offered up His passion, His crucifixion, 
and His death, that man should not be bought 
for nothing. This is what the Apostle intimates 
in saying that we are " bought with a great 
price ;" and the Prophet, while he declares that 
" with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him a 
copious^' or " plenteous redemption." 

This is what I wished to draw out distinctly, my 
brethren, for your devout meditation. We might 
have been pardoned without the humiliation of 
the Eternal Word ; again, we might have been 
redeemed by one single drop of His blood ; but 
still on earth He came, and a death He died, a 
death of inconceivable suffering ; and all this He 
did as a free offering to His Father, not as forcing 
His acceptance of it. From beginning to the 
end it was in the highest sense a voluntary work ; 
and this is what is so overpowering to the mind 
in the thought of it. It is as if He delighted in 
having to suffer ; as if He wished to show all 
creatures, what would otherwise have seemed im- 
possible, that the Creator could practise, in the 
midst of His heavenly blessedness, the virtues of 
a creature, self-abasement and humiUty. It is as 
if He wished, all-glorious as He was from all 
eternity, as a sort of addition, (if we may so 
speak,) to His perfections, to submit to a creature's 
condition in its most afflictive form. It is, if 
we may use human language, a prodigality of 


charity, or that heroic love of toil and hardship, 
which is poorly shadowed out in the romantic 
defenders of the innocent or the oppressed, whom 
we read of in history or in fable, who have gone 
about the earth, nobly exposing themselves to 
peril for any who asked their aid. 

Or rather, and that is what I wish to insist 
upon, it suggests to us, as by a specimen, the infi- 
nitude of God. We all confess that He is 
infinite : He has an infinite number of perfections, 
and He is infinite in each of them. This we 
shall confess at once ; but, we ask, what is infi- 
nity ? what is meant by saying He is infinite ? 
We seem to wish to be told, as if we had nothing 
given us to throw light on the question. Why, 
my brethren, we have much given us ; the out- 
ward exhibition of infinitude is mystery ; and the 
mysteries of nature and of grace are nothing else 
than the mode in which His infinitude encounters 
us and is brought home to our minds. Men 
confess that He is infinite, yet they start and 
object, as soon as His infinitude comes in contact 
with their imagination and acts upon their reason. 
They cannot bear the fulness, the superabundance, 
the inexhaustible flowing forth, and " vehement 
rushing,"* and encompassing flood of the divine 
attributes. They restrain and limit them to their 

* Tanquam advenientis spirit us vehementis. 


own comprehension, they measure them by their 
own standard, they fashion them by their own 
model ; and when they discern aught of the 
unfathomable depth, the immensity, of any single 
excellence or perfection of the Divine Nature, 
His love, or His justice, or His power, they are 
at once offended, and turn away, and refuse to 

Now, this instance of our Lord's humiliation is 
a case in point. What would be profusion and 
extravagance in man, is but suitable or necessary, 
if I may say so, in Him whose resources are 
illimitable. We read in history accounts of 
oriental munificence, which sound like fiction, 
and which would gain not applause but contempt 
in Europe, where wealth is not concentrated, as in 
the East, upon a few out of a whole people. 
" Royal munificence" has become a proverb, 
from the idea that a king's treasures are such, as 
to make large presents and bounties, not allowable 
only, but appropriate in him. He, then, who is 
infinite, may be only doing what is best, and 
hohest, and wisest, in doing what to man seems 
infinitely to exceed the necessity ; for He cannot 
exceed His own powers or resources. Man has 
limited means and definite duties ; it would be 
waste in him to lavish a thousand pieces of gold 
on one poor man, when with the same he might 
have done substantial good to many ; but God is 




as rich, as profound and vast, as infinite, when He 
has done a work of infinite bounty, as before He 
set about it. " Knowest thou not," He says, " or 
hast thou not heard ? the Everlasting God, the 
Lord, who has created the ends of the earth, shall 
not faint, nor weary ; nor is there searching of His 
wisdom." He cannot do a small work ; He can- 
not act by halves ; He ever does whole works, 
great works. Had Christ been incarnate for one 
single soul, who ought to have been surprised ? 
who ought not to have praised and blessed Him 
for telling us in one instance, and by a specimen, 
what that love and bounty are, which fill the 
heavens ? and in Hke manner, when in fact He 
has taken flesh for those, who might have been 
saved without it, though more suitably to His 
glorious majesty with it, and moreover has shed 
His whole blood in satisfaction, when a drop 
might have sufficed, shall we think such teaching 
strange and hard to receive, and not rather con- 
sistent, and merely consistent, with that great 
truth, which we all start with admitting, that He 
is infinite ? Surely it would be most irrational in 
us, to admit His infinitude in the general, and to 
reject the examples of it in particular ; to maintain 
that He is mystery, yet to deny that His acts can 
be mysterious. 

We must not, then, bring in our economical 
theories, borrowed from the schools of the day, 


when we would reason about the Eternal God. 
The world is ever doing so, when it speaks of 
religion. It will not allow the miracles of the 
Saints, because it pretends that those wrought by 
the Apostles were sufficient for the purpose which 
miracles had, or ought forsooth to have, in view. 
I wonder how the world comes to admit that such 
multitudes of human beings are born and die in 
infancy ; or that a profusion of seeds is cast over 
the face of the earth, some of which fall by the 
way-side, some on the rock, some among thorns, 
and only a remnant on the good ground. How 
wasteful was that sower! so thinks the world, but 
an Apostle cries out, " O the depth of the riches 
of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God ! how 
incomprehensible are His judgments, and how 
unsearchable His ways !" 

The world judges of God's condescension as it 
judges of His bounty. We know from Scripture 
that " the teaching of the Cross" was in the be- 
ginning " foolishness" to it ; grave thinking men 
scoifed at it as impossible, that God, who is so 
high, should humble Himself so low, and that One 
who died a malefactor's death should be worship- 
ped on the very instrument of His execution- 
Voluntary humiliation they did not understand 
then, nor do they now. They do not indeed ex- 
press their repugnance to the doctrine so openly 
now, because what is called pubhc opinion does 


not allow them ; but you see what they really 
think of Christ, by the tone which they adopt 
towards those who in their measure follow Him. 
Those who are partakers of His fulness, are called 
on, according as the gift is given them, whether 
by His ordinarj^ suggestions or by particular inspi- 
ration, to imitate His pattern ; they are carried on 
to the sacrifice of self, and thus they come into 
collision with the maxims of the world, A volun- 
tary or gratuitous mortification in one shape or 
another, voluntary chastity, voluntary poverty, 
voluntary obedience, vows of perfection, all this is 
the very point of contest between the world and 
the Church, the world hating it, and the Church 
counselling it. " Why cannot they stop with me," 
says the world ; " why will they give up their 
station or position, when it is certain they might 
be saved where they are ? Here is a lady of 
birth ; she might be useful at home, she might 
marry well, she might be an ornament to society, 
she might give her countenance to religious 
objects, and she has perversely left us all ; she 
has cut oiF her hair, and put on a coarse garment, 
and is washing the feet of the poor. There is a 
man of name and ability, who has thrown himself 
out of his sphere of influence, and he lives in a 
small room, in a place where no one knows who he 
is; and he is teaching little children their catechism." 
The world is touched with pity, and shame, and in- 


dignation at the sight, and moralizes over persons 
who act so unworthily of their birth or education, 
and are so cruel towards themselves. And worse 
still, here is a Saint, and what must he do but 
practise eccentricities ? — as indeed they w^ould be 
in others, though in him they are but the necessary 
antagonists to the temptations which otherwise 
would come on him from " the greatness of the 
revelations," or are but tokens of the love with 
which he embraces the feet of his Eedeemer. 
And here again is another, and she submits her 
flesh to penances shocking to think of, and 
wearies herself out in the search after misery, and 
all from some notion that she is assimilating her 
condition to the voluntary self-abasement of the 
Word. Alas, for the world! which is simply 
forgetful that God is great in all He does, great 
in His sufferings, and that He makes Saints and 
holy men in their degree partakers of that great- 

Here too is another instance in point. If there 
is one divine attribute rather than another, which 
forces itself upon the mind from the contemplation 
of the material world, it is the glory, harmony, 
and beauty of its Creator. This lies on the sur- 
face of the world, like light on a countenance, and 
addresses itself to all. To few men indeed is it 
given to penetrate into the world's system and 
order so deeply as to perceive, in addition, the 


wonderful skill and goodness of the Divine arti- 
ficer ; but the grace and loveliness which beams 
from the very face of the visible creation is cog- 
nizable by all, rich and poor, learned and ignorant. 
It is indeed so beautiful, that those same philoso- 
phers, who devote themselves to its investigation, 
come to love it idolatrously, and to think it too 
perfect for them to allow of infringement or altera- 
tion, or to tolerate even that idea. Not looking 
up to the Infinite Creator, who could make a thou- 
sand fairer worlds, and who has made the fairest 
portion of this the most perishable, blooming, as it 
does, to-day, and to-morrow burning in the oven, 
lovmg, I say, the creature more than the Creator, 
they have taken on them in all ages to disbelieve 
the possibility of interruptions of physical order, 
and have denied the miracles of revelation. 
They have denied the miracles of Apostles and 
Prophets, on the ground of their marring and 
spoiling what is so perfect and harmonious, as if 
the visible world were some work of human art, 
too exquisite to be wantonly dashed on the 
ground. But He, my brethren, the Eternal 
Maker of time and space, and matter and sense, 
as if to pour contempt upon the forward and 
minute speculations of His ignorant creatures 
about His works and His will, in order to a fuller 
and richer harmony, and a higher and nobler order, 
confuses the laws of this physical universe and 


untunes the music of the spheres. Nay He has 
done more, He has gone further still ; out of the 
infinitude of His greatness, He has defaced His 
own glory, and wounded and deformed His own 
beauty, — not indeed as it is in itself, for He is 
ever the same, transcendently perfect and un- 
changeable, but in the contemplation of His 
creatures, — by the unutterable condescension of 
His incarnation. 

Semetipsum exinanivit^ " He made Himself 
void or empty," as the earth had been " void 
and empty" at the beginning ; He seemed to be 
unbinding and letting loose the assemblage of 
attributes which made Him God, and to be 
destroying the idea which He Himself had im- 
planted in our minds. The God of miracles did 
the most awful of signs and wonders, by revoking 
and contradicting, as it were, all His perfections, 
though He remained the while one and the same. 
Omnipotence became an abject ; the Life became 
a leper ; the first and only Fair came down to us 
with an " inglorious visage," and an " unsightly 
form," bleeding and (I may say) ghastly, lifted 
up in nakedness and stretched out in dislocation 
before the eyes of sinners. Not content with 
this. He perpetuates the history of His humilia- 
tion ; men of this world, when they fall into 
trouble, and then recover themselves, hide the 
memorials of it. They conceal their misfortunes 


in prospect, as long as they can ; bear them per- 
force, when they fall on them ; and, when they 
have overcome them, affect to make light of 
them. Kings of the earth, when they have rid 
themselves of their temporary conquerors, and 
are re-instated on their thrones, put all things 
back into their former state, and remove from 
their palaces, council-rooms, and cities, whether 
statue or picture or inscription or edict, which 
bears witness to the suspension of their power. 
Soldiers indeed boast of their scars, but it is because 
their foes were well-matched with them, and their 
conflicts were necessary, and the marks of what 
they have suffered is a proof of what they have 
done ; but He, who ohlatus est^ quia voluit^ who 
" was offered, for He willed it," who exposed 
Himself to the powers of evil, yet could have 
saved us without that exposure, who was neither 
weak because He was overcome, nor strong be- 
cause He overcame, proclaims to the whole 
world what He has gone through, without the 
tyrant's shame, without the soldier's pride ; — 
wonderful it is. He has raised up on high. He has 
planted over the earth, the memorial that that 
evil one, whom He cast out of heaven in the 
beginning, has in the hour of darkness inflicted 
agony upon Him. For in truth, by consequence 
of the infinitude of His glory. He is more beauti- 
ful in His weakness than in His strength ; His 


wounds shine like stars of light ; His very Cross 
becomes an object of worship ; the instruments 
of His passion, the nails and the thorny crown, 
are replete with miraculous power. And so He 
bids the commemoration of His Bloody Sacrifice 
to be made day by day all over the earth, and He 
Himself attends in Person to quicken and sanctify 
it ; He rears His bitter but saving Cross in every 
Church and over every Altar ; He shows Him- 
self torn and bleeding upon the wood at the 
comers of each street and in every village 
market-place ; He makes it the symbol of His 
religion ; He seals our foreheads, our lips, and 
our breasts with this triumphant sign ; with it 
He begins and ends our days, and with it He con- 
signs us to the tomb. And when He comes 
again, that Sign of the Son of Man will be seen 
in heaven ; and when He takes His seat in judg- 
ment, the same glorious marks will be seen by all 
the world in his Hands, Feet, and Side, which 
were dug into them at the season of His degrada- 
tion. Thus " hath King Solomon made Himself 
a litter of the wood of Libanus. The pillars 
thereof He made of silver, the seat of gold, the 
going up of purple ; the midst He covered with 
charity for the daughters of Jerusalem. Go 
forth, ye daughters of Sion ; and see King Solo- 
mon in the diadem, wherewith His mother 

B 2 


crowned- Him in the day of His espousals, and in 
the day of His heart's joy." 

I must not conclude this train of thought, with- 
out alluding to a sadder subject, on wliich it 
seems to throw some light. There is a class of 
doctrines which to the natural man are an especial 
offence and difficulty ; I mean those connected 
with the divine judgments. Why has the Al- 
mighty assigned an eternal punishment to the 
impenitent sinner ? Why is it that vengeance 
has its hold on him when he passes out of this 
life, and there is no remedy ? Why, again, is it 
that even the beloved children of God, that holy 
souls who leave this life in His grace and in His 
favour, are not at once admitted to His face ; 
but, if there be an outstanding debt against them, 
first enter purgatory and exhaust it ? Men of 
the world shrink from a doctrine like this as 
impossible, and religious men answer that it is a 
mystery ; and a mystery it is, that is, it is but 
another of those instances which nature and reve- 
lation bring before us of the diviner infinitude ; it 
is but one of the many overpowering manifesta- 
tions of the Almighty, when He acts, which 
remind us, which are intended to remind us, that 
He is infinite, and above and beyond human 
measure and understanding, — wliich lead us to 
bow the head and adore Him, as Moses did. 


when He passed by, and with him awfully to 
proclaim His Name, as " the Lord God, who 
hath dominion, keeping mercy for thousands, and 
returning the iniquity of the fathers upon the 
children and children's children to the third and 
fourth generation." 

Thus the attributes of God, though intelligible 
to us on their surface, — for from our own sense 
of mercy and hohness and patience and consist- 
ency, we have general notions of the All-merciful 
and All-holy and All-patient, and of what is 
proper to His Essence, — yet, for the very reason 
that they are infinite, transcend our comprehen- 
sion, when they are dwelt upon, when they are 
followed out, and can only be received by faith. 
They are dimly shadowed out, in this very re- 
spect, by the great agents which He has created 
in the material world. What is so ordinary and 
familiar with us as the elements, what so simple 
and level to us, as their presence and operation ? 
yet how their character changes, and how they 
overmaster us, and triumph over us, when they 
come upon us in their fulness ! The invisible 
air, how gentle is it, and intimately ours ! we 
breathe it momentarily, nor could we live without 
it ; it fans our cheek, and flows around us, and 
we move through it without effort, while it obe- 
diently recedes at every step we take, and obse- 
quiously pursues us as we go forward. Yet let it 


come in its power, and that same silent fluid, 
which was just now the servant of our necessity 
or caprice, takes us up on its wings with the 
invisible power of an Angel, and carries us forth 
into the regions of space, and flings us down 
headlong upon the earth. Or go to the spring, 
and draw thence at your pleasure, for your cup 
or your pitcher, in supply of your wants ; you 
have a ready servant, a domestic ever at hand, in 
large quantity or in small, to satisfy your thirst, 
or to purify you from the dust and mire of the 
world. But go from home, reach the coast : and 
you will see that same humble element trans- 
formed before your eyes. You were equal to it 
in its condescension, but who shall gaze without 
astonishment at its vast expanse in the bosom of 
the ocean ? who shall hear without awe the dash- 
ing of its mighty billows along the beach ? who 
shall without terror feel it heaving under him, 
and swelling and mounting up, and yawning wide, 
till he, its very sport and mockery, is thrown to 
and fro, hither and thither, at the mere mercy of 
a power which was just now his companion and 
almost his slave ? Or, again, approach the flame : 
it warms you, and it enlightens you ; yet approach 
not too near, presume not, or it will change its 
nature. That very element which is so beautiful 
to look at, so brilliant in its light, so graceful in 
its figure, so soft and lambent in its motion, will be 


found in its essence to be of a keen resistless kind ; 
it tortures, it consumes, it reduces to ashes that 
of which it was just before the illumination and 
the life. So is it with the attributes of God ; our 
knowledge of them serves us for our daily wel- 
fare ; they give us light and warmth and food 
and guidance and succour ; but go forth with 
Moses upon the mount and let the Lord pass by, 
or with Elias stand in the desert amid the wind, 
the earthquake, and the fire, and all is mystery 
and darkness ; all is but a whirling of the reason, 
and a dazzling of the imagination, and an over- 
whelming of the feelings, reminding us that we 
are but mortal men and He is God, and that the 
outlines which nature draws for us are not His 
perfect image, nor to be pronounced inconsistent 
with the further lights and depths with which it 
is invested by revelation. 

Say not, my brethren, that these thoughts are 
too austere for this season, when we contemplate 
the self-consuming, self-sacrificing charity where- 
with God our Saviour has visited us. It is for 
that very reason that I dwell on them ; the higher 
He is, and the more mysterious, so much the 
more glorious and the more subduing is the history 
of His humiliation. I own it, my brethren, I love to 
dwell on Him as the Only-begotten Word ; nor 
is it any forgetfulness of His sacred humanity to 
contemplate His Eternal Person. It is the very 


idea, that He is God, which gives a meaning to His 
sufferings ; what is to me a man, and nothing 
more, in agony, or scourged, or crucified ? there 
are many holy martyrs, and their torments were 
terrible. But here I see One dropping blood, 
gashed by the thong, and stretched upon the 
Cross, and He is God. It is no tale of human 
woe which I am reading here ; it is the record of 
the passion of the great Creator. The Word and 
Wisdom of the Father, who dwelt in His bosom in 
bliss ineffable from all eternity, whose very smile 
has shed radiance and grace over the whole crea- 
tion, whose traces I see in the starry heavens and 
on the green earth, this glorious living God, it is He 
who looks at me so piteously, so tenderly from the 
Cross. He seems to say, — I cannot move, though 
I am omnipotent, for sin has bound Me here. I 
had had it in mind to come on earth among 
innocent creatures, the fairest and loveliest of 
them all, with a face more radiant than the 
Seraphim, and a form as royal as the Archangel's, 
to be their equal yet their God, to fill them with 
My grace, to receive their worship, to enjoy their 
company, and to prepare them for the heaven to 
which I destined them ; but, before I carried My 
purpose into effect, they sinned, and lost their 
inheritance, and so I come indeed, but come, not 
in that brightness in which I went forth to create 
the morning stars and to fill the sons of God with 


melody, but in deformity and in shame, in sighs 
and tears, with blood upon My cheek, and with 
My limbs laid bare and rent. Gaze on Me, O 
My children, if you will, for I am helpless ; gaze 
on your Maker, whether in contempt, or in faith 
and love. Here I wait, upon the Cross, the ap- 
pointed time, the time of grace and mercy ; here 
I wait till the end of the world, silent and motion- 
less, for the conversion of the sinful and the con- 
solation of the just ; here I remain in weakness and 
shame, though I am so great in heaven, till the 
end, patiently expecting My full catalogue of souls, 
who, when time is at length over, shall be the 
reward of My passion and the triumph of My 
grace to all eternity. 



Every passage in the history of our Lord and 
Saviour is of unfathomable depth, and affords 
inexhaustible matter of contemplation. All that 
concerns Him is infinite, and what we first dis- 
cern is but the surface of that which begins and 
ends in eternity. It would be presumptuous for any 
one short of Saints and Doctors to attempt to 
comment on His words and deeds, except in the 
way of meditation ; but meditation and mental 
prayer are so much a duty in all who wish to 
cherish true faith and love towards Him, that it 
may be allowed us, my brethren, under the 
guidance of holy men who have gone before us, 
to dwell and enlarge upon what otherwise would 
more fitly be adored than scrutinized. And certain 
times of the year, this especially,* call upon us to 
* Passion-tide. 


consider, as closely and nainutely as we can, even 
the more sacred portions of the Gospel history. 
I would rather be thought feeble or officious in my 
treatment of them, than wanting to the season ; 
and so I now proceed, because the religious usage 
of the Church requires it, and though any indivi- 
dual preacher may well shrink from it, to direct 
your thoughts to a subject, especially suitable now, 
and about which many of us perhaps think very 
Httle, the sufferings which our Lord endured in 
His innocent and sinless soul. 

You know, my brethren, that our Lord and 
Saviour, though He was God, was also perfect 
man ; and hence He had, not only a body, but a 
soul likewise, such as ours, though pure from all 
stain of evil. He did not take a body without a 
soul, God forbid ! for that would not have been 
to become man. How would He have sanctified 
our nature if He had taken a nature which was 
not ours ? Man without a soul is on a level with 
the beasts of the field ; but our Lord came to save 
a race capable of praising and obeying Him, 
possessed of immortality, yet dispossessed of their 
hope of an immortality of bliss. Man was created 
in the image of God, and that image is in his 
soul ; when then his Maker, by an unspeakable 
condescension, came in his nature. He took on 
Himself a soul in order to take on Him a body ; 
He took on Him a soul as the means of His union 


with a body ; He took on Him in the first place 
the soul, then the body of man, both at once, but 
in this order, the soul and the body ; He Himself 
created the soul which He took on Himself, He 
took His body from the flesh of the Blessed 
Virgin, His Mother. Thus He became perfect 
man with body and soul ; and, as He took on Him 
a body of flesh and nerves, which admitted of 
wounds and death, and was capable of sufiPering, 
so did He take a soul too, which was susceptible 
of that sufl'ering, and moreover was susceptible of 
the pain and sorrow which are proper to a human 
soul ; and, as His atoning passion was undergone 
in the body, so it was undergone in the soul 

As the solemn days proceed, we shall be espe- 
cially called on, my brethren, to consider His suf- 
ferings in the body. His seizure. His forced 
journeyings to and fro, His blows and wounds. 
His scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails, the 
Cross. They are all summed up in the Crucifix 
itself, as it meets our eyes ; they are represented 
all at once on His sacred flesh, as it hangs up 
before us, — and meditation is made easy by the 
spectacle. It is otherwise with the sufl'e rings of 
His soul, they cannot be painted for us, nor can 
they even be duly investigated : they are beyond 
both sense and thought ; and yet they anticipated 
His bodily sufferings. The agony, a pain of the 


soul, not of the body, was the first act of His tre- 
mendous sacrifice ; " My soul is sorrowful even 
unto death," He said ; nay, if He sufibred in the 
body, it really was in the soul, for the body did 
but convey the infliction on to that which was the 
true recipient and seat of the anguish. 

This it is very much to the purpose to insist 
upon ; I say, it was not the body that suffered, 
but the soul in the body ; it was the soul and not 
the body which was the seat of the suffering of 
the Eternal Word. Consider, then, there is no 
real pain, though there may be apparent suffering, 
when there is no kind of inward sensibility or 
spirit to be the seat of it. A tree, for instance, 
has life, organs, growth, and decay ; it may be 
wounded and injured ; it droops, and is killed ; 
but it does not suffer, because it has no mind or 
sensible principle within it. But wherever this 
gift of an immaterial principle is found, there pain 
is possible, and greater pain according to the 
quality of the gift. Had we no spirit of any 
kind, we should feel as little as a tree feels ; had 
we no soul, we should not feel pain more acutely 
than a brute feels it ; but, being men, we feel pain 
in a way in which none but those who have souls 
can feel it. 

Living beings, I say, feel more or less accord- 
ding to the spirit which is in them ; brutes feel 
far less than man, because they cannot think of 


what they feel ; they have no advertence or direct 
consciousness of their sufferings. This it is that 
makes pain so trying, viz. that we cannot help 
thinking of it, while we suffer it. It is before 
us,it possesses the mind, it keeps our thoughts 
fixed upon it. Whatever draws the mind off the 
thought of it lessens it ; hence friends try to 
amuse us when we are in pain, for amusement is 
a diversion. If the pain is slight, they sometimes 
succeed with us ; and then we are, so to say, 
without pain, even while we suffer. And hence 
it continually happens that in violent exercise or 
labour, men meet with blows or cuts, so consider- 
able and so durable in their effects, as to bear 
witness to the suffering which must have attended 
their infliction, of which nevertheless they recol- 
lect nothing. And in quarrels and in battles 
wounds are received, which, from the excitement 
of the moment, are brought home to the conscious- 
ness of the combatant, not by the pain at the 
time of receiving them, but by the loss of blood 
that follows. 

I will show you presently, my brethren, how I 
mean to apply what I have said to the consideration 
of our Lord's sufferings ; first I will make another 
remark. Consider then, that hardly any one 
stroke of pain is intolerable ; it is intolerable 
when it continues. You cry out perhaps that 
you cannot bear more ; patients feel as if they 


could stop the surgeon's hand, simply because he 
continues to pain them. Their feeling is that 
they have borne as much as they can bear ; as if 
the continuance and not the intenseness was 
what made it too much for them. What does 
this mean, but that the memory of the foregoing 
moments of pain acts upon (and as it were) edges 
the pain that succeeds ? If the third or fourth or 
twentieth moment of pain could be taken by 
itself, if the succession of the moments that pre- 
ceded it could be forgotten, it would be no more 
than the first moment, as bearable as the first ; 
but what makes it unbearable is, that it is the 
twentieth ; that the first, the second, the third, on 
to the nineteenth moment of pain, are all concen- 
trated in the twentieth ; so that every additional 
moment of pain has all the weight, the ever- 
increasing weight, of all that has preceded it. 
Hence, I repeat, it is that brute animals would 
seem to feel so little pain, because, that is, 
they have not the power of reflection or of con- 
sciousness. They do not know they exist ; they 
do not contemplate themselves, they do not look 
backwards or forwards ; every moment as it suc- 
ceeds, is their all ; they wander over the face of 
the earth, and see this thing and that, and feel 
pleasure and pain, but still they take every thing 
as it comes, and then let it go again, as men do 
in dreams. They have memory, but not the 


memory of an intellectual being ; they put toge- 
ther nothing, they make nothing one and indivi- 
dual to themselves out of the particular sensations 
which they receive ; nothing is to them a reality 
or has a substance beyond those sensations ; they 
are but sensible of a number of successive impres- 
sions. And hence, as their other feelings, so 
their feeling of pain is but faint and dull, in 
spite of their oatward manifestations of it. It 
is the intellectual comprehension of pain, as a 
whole diffused through successive moments, 
which gives it its special power and keenness, 
and it is the soul only, which a brute has not, 
which is capable of that comprehension. 

Now apply this to the sufferings of our Lord: — 
do you recollect their offering Him wine mingled 
with myrrh, when He was on the point of being 
crucified ? He would not drink of it ; why ? be- 
cause such a potion would have stupified His 
mind, and He was bent on bearing the pain in all 
its bitterness. You see from this, my brethren, 
the character of His sufferings ; He would have 
fain escaped them, had that been His Father's 
will ; " If it be possible," He said, " let this cha- 
lice pass from Me ;" but since it was not. He 
says calmly and decidedly to the Apostle, who 
would have rescued Him from suffering, " The 
chahce which my Father hath given Me, shall I 
not drink it ?" If He was to suffer, He gave 


Himself to suffering ; He did not come to suffer 
as little as He eould ; He did not turn away His 
face from the suffering ; He confronted it, or, as 
I may say, He breasted it, that every particular 
portion of it might make its due impression on 
Him. And as men are superior to brute animals, 
and are affected by pain more than they, by reason 
of the mind within them, which gives a substance 
to pain, such as it cannot have in the instance of 
brutes ; so, in like manner, our Lord felt pain of 
the body, with an advertence and a consciousness, 
and therefore with a keenness and intensity, and 
with a unity of perception, which none of us can 
possibly fathom or compass, because His soul was 
so absolutely in His own power, so simply free 
from the influence of distractions, so fully directed 
upon the pain, so utterly surrendered, so simply 
subjected to the suffering. And thus He may 
truly be said to have suffered the whole of His 
passion in every moment of it. 

Recollect that our Blessed Lord was in this 
respect different from us, that, though He was 
perfect man, yet there was a power in Him 
greater than His soul, which ruled His soul, for 
He was God. The soul of other men is sub- 
jected to its own wishes, feelings, impulses, pas- 
sions, perturbations ; His soul was subjected 
simply to His Eternal and Divine Person. No- 
thing happened to His soul, by chance, or on a 


sudden ; He never was taken by surprise ; 
nothing affected Him without His willing before- 
hand that it should affect Him. Never did He 
sorrow, or fear, or desire, or rejoice in spirit, but He 
first willed to be sorrowful, or afraid, or desirous, 
or joyful. When we suffer, it is because outward 
agents and the incontrollable emotions of our 
minds bring suffering upon us. We are brought 
under the discipline of pain involuntarily, we 
suffer more or less acutely according to acci- 
dental circumstances, we find our patience more 
or less tried by it according to our state of mind, 
and we do our best to provide alleviations or 
remedies of it. We cannot anticipate beforehand 
how much of it will come upon us, or how far we 
shall be able to sustain it ; nor can we say after- 
wards why we have felt, just what we have felt, 
or why did we not bear the suffering better. It 
was otherwise with our Lord. His Divine Person 
was not subject, could not be exposed, to the in- 
fluence of His own hiunan affections and feelings 
except so far as He chose. I repeat, when He chose 
to fear. He feared ; when He chose to be angry. 
He was angry ; when He chose to grieve. He was 
grieved. He was not open to emotion, but He 
opened upon Himself voluntarily the influence by 
which He was moved. Consequently, when He 
determined to suffer the pain of His vicarious 
passion, whatever He did, He did, as the Wise 


Man says, zw5to?2^(?r, " earnestly," with His might; 
He did not do it by halves ; He did not turn 
away His mind from the suffering, as we do ; — 
(how should He, who came to suffer, who could 
not have suffered but of His own act ?) no, He 
did not say and unsay, do and undo ; He said 
and He did ; He said, " Lo, I come to do Thy 
will, O God ; sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest 
not, but a body hast Thou fitted to Me." He 
took a body in order that He might suffer ; He 
became man, that He might suffer as man ; and 
when His hour came, that hour of Satan and of 
darkness, the hour when sin was to pour its full 
mahgnity upon Him, it followed that He offered 
Himself wholly, a holocaust, a whole burnt-offer- 
ing ; — as the whole of His body, stretched out 
upon the Cross, so the whole of His soul. His 
whole advertence. His whole consciousness, a 
mind awake, a sense acute, a living co-operation, 
a present, absolute intention, not a virtual per- 
mission, not a heartless submission, this did He 
present to His tormentors. His passion was an 
action ; He lived most energetically, while He 
lay languishing, fainting, and dying. Nor did 
He die, except by an act of the will ; for He 
bowed His head, in command as well as in re- 
signation, and said, " Father, into Thy hands I 
commend My Spirit ;" He gave the word. He 
surrendered His soul, He did not lose it. 


Thus you see, my brethren, had our Lord only 
suffered in the body, and in it not so much as 
other men, still as regards the pain. He would 
have really suffered indefinitely more, because 
pain is to be measured by the power of realizing 
it. God was the sufferer ; God suffered in His 
human nature ; the sufferings belonged to God, 
and were drank up, were drained out to the 
bottom of the chalice, because God drank them ; 
not tasted or sipped, not flavoured, disguised by 
human medicaments, as man disposes of the cup 
of anguish. And what I have now said will 
further serve to answer an objection, which I 
shall proceed to notice, and which perhaps exists 
latently in the minds of many, and leads them to 
overlook the part which our Lord's soul had in 
His gracious satisfaction. 

Our Lord said, when His agony was commenc- 
ing, " My soul is sorrowful unto death ;" now 
you may ask, my brethren, whether He had 
not certain consolations, peculiar to Himself, 
impossible in any other, which diminished or 
impeded the distress of His soul, and caused Him 
to feel, not more, but less than an ordinary man. 
For instance, He had a sense of innocence which 
no other sufferer could have : even His perse- 
cutors, even the false apostle who betrayed Him, 
the judge who sentenced Him, and the soldiers 
who conducted the execution, testified His inno- 


cence. " I have condemned the innocent blood," 
said Judas ; " I am clear from the blood of this 
just Person," said Pilate ; " Truly this was a just 
Man," cried the centurion. And if even they, 
sinners, bore witness to His sinlessness, how 
much more did His own soul ! and we know well 
that even in our own case, sinners as we are, on 
the consciousness of innocence or of guilt mainly 
turns our power of enduring opposition and 
calumny ; how much more, you will say, in the 
case of our Lord, did the sense of inward sanctity 
compensate for the suffering and annihilate the 
shame ! Again, you may say, that He knew^ 
that His sufferings would be short, and that their 
issue would be joyful, whereas uncertainty of the 
future is the keenest element of human distress ; 
but He could not have anxiety, for He was not 
in suspense, nor despondency or despair, for He 
never was deserted. And in confirmation you 
may refer to St. Paul who expressly tells us, that 
" for the joy set before Him," our Lord " despised 
the shame." And certainly there is a marvellous 
calm and self possession in all He does : consider 
His warning to the Apostles, " Watch and pray, 
lest ye enter into temptation ; the spirit indeed is 
willing, but the flesh is weak ;" or His words to 
Judas, " Friend, wherefore art thou come ?" and 
" Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a 
kiss ?" or to Peter, " All that take the sword, 


shall perish with the sword ;" or to the man who 
struck Him, " If I have spoken evil, bear witness 
of the evil ; but if well, why smitest thou Me?" 
or to His Mother, " Woman, behold thy Son." 

All this is true and much to be insisted on ; 
but it quite agrees with, or rather illustrates, what 
T have been saying. My brethren, you have only 
said, (to use a human phrase,) that He was al~ 
ways Himself. His mind was its own centre, 
and was never in the slightest degree thrown off 
its heavenly and most perfect balance. What He 
suffered, He suffered because He put Himself 
under suffering, and that deliberately and calmly. 
As He said to the leper, " I will, be thou clean ;" 
and to the paralytic, " Thy sins be forgiven thee ;" 
and to the centurion, "I will come and heal 
him ;" and of Lazarus, " I go to wake him out 
of sleep;" so He said, "Now I will begin to 
suffer," and He did begin. His composure is but 
the proof how entirely He governed His own 
mind. He drew back, at the proper moment, the 
bolts and fastenings, and opened the gates, and 
the floods fell right upon His soul in all their 
fulness. This is what St. Mark tells us of flim ; 
and he is said to have written it from the very 
mouth of St. Peter, who was one of three witnesses 
present at the time. " They came," he says, " to 
the place which is called Gethsemani ; and He 
saith to His disciples, Sit you here while I pray. 


And He taketh with Him Peter and James and 
John, and He began to be frightened and to be 
very heavy." You see how deHberately He acts; 
He comes to a certain spot ; and then, giving the 
word of command, and withdrawing the support 
of the Godliead from His soul, distress, terror, 
and dejection at once rush in upon it. Thus He 
walks forth into a mental agony with as definite 
an action as if it were some bodily torture, the 
fire or the wheel. 

This being the case, you will see at once, my 
brethren, that it is nothing to the purpose to say 
that He would be supported under His trial by the 
consciousness of innocence and the anticipation of 
triumph ; for His trial consisted in the withdrawal, 
as of other causes of consolation, so of that very 
consciousness and anticipation. The same act of 
the will which admitted the influence upon His 
soul of any distress at all, admitted all distresses at 
once. It was not the contest between antagonist 
impulses and views, coming from without, but the 
operation of an inward resolution. As men of 
self-command can turn from one thought to 
another at their will, so, much more, did He de- 
liberately deny Himself the comfort, and satiate 
Himself with woe. In that moment His soul 
thought not of the future. He thought only of the 
present burden which was upon Him, and which 
He had come upon earth to sustain. 


And now, my brethren, what was it He had to 
bear, when He thus opened upon His soul the 
torrent of this predestinated pain ? Alas ! He 
had to bear what is well known to us, what is 
familiar to us, but what to Him was woe unutter- 
able. He had to bear, that which is so easy a 
thing to us, so natural, so welcome, that we cannot 
conceive of it as of a great endurance, but which to 
Him had the scent and the poison of death ; — He 
had, my dear brethren, to bear the weight of sin ; 
He had to bear your sins ; He had to bear the 
sins of the whole world. Sin is an easy thing to 
us ; we think little of it ; we do not understand 
how the Creator can think much of it ; we cannot 
bring our imagination to believe that it deserves 
retribution, and, when even in this world punish- 
ments follow upon it, we explain them away or 
turn our minds from them. But consider what 
sin is in itself ; it is rebellion against God ; it is 
a traitor's act who aims at the overthrow and 
death of his sovereign ; it is that, if I may use 
a strong expression, which, could the Divine 
Governor of the world cease to be, would be suffi- 
cient to bring it about. Sin is the mortal enemy 
of the All-holy, so that He and it cannot be 
together ; and as the All-holy drives it from His 
presence into the outer darkness, so, if God could 
be less than God, it is sin that would have power 
to make Him so. And here observe, my brethren. 


that when once Almighty Love, by taking flesh, 
entered this created system, and submitted Him- 
self to its laws, then forthwith this antagonist of 
good and truth, taking advantage of the oppor- 
tunity, flew at that flesh, which He had taken, 
and fixed on it, and was its death. The envy of 
the Pharisees, the treachery of Judas, and the 
madness of the people were but the instrument 
or the expression of the enmity which sin felt 
towards Eternal Purity, as soon as, in infinite 
mercy towards men. He put Himself within its 
reach. Sin could not touch His Divine Majesty ; 
but it could assail Him in that way in which He 
allowed Himself to be assailed, that is, through 
the medium of His humanity. And in the issue, 
in the death of God incarnate, you are but taught, 
my brethren, what sin is in itself, and what it was 
which then was falling, in its hour and in its 
strength, upon His human nature, when He al- 
lowed that nature to be so filled with horror and 
dismay at the very anticipation. 

There, then, in that most awful hour, knelt the 
Saviour of the world, putting ofi" the defences of 
His divinity, dismissing His reluctant Angels, 
who in myriads were ready at His call, and open- 
ing His arms, baring His breast, sinless as He 
was, to the assault of His foe, — of a foe whose 
breath was a pestilence, and whose embrace was 
an agony. There He knelt, motionless and still, 


while the vile and horrible fiend clad His spirit 
in a robe steeped in all that is hateful and hei- 
nous in human crime, which clung close round 
His heart, and filled His conscience, and found 
its way into every sense and pore of His mind, 
and spread over Him a moral leprosy, till He 
almost felt Himself to be that which He never 
could be, and which His foe would fain have 
made Him. O the horror, when He looked, and 
did not know Himself, and felt as a foul and 
loathsome sinner, from His vivid perception of 
that mass of corruption which poured over His 
head and ran down even to the skirts of His gar- 
ments ! O the distraction, when He found His 
eyes, and hands, and feet, and lips, and heart, as 
if the members of the evil one, and not of God ! 
Are these the hands of the immaculate Lamb of 
God, once innocent, but now red with ten thou- 
sand barbarous deeds of blood ? are these His 
lips, not uttering prayer, and praise, and holy 
blessings, but as if defiled with oaths, and blas- 
phemies, and doctrines of devils ? or His eyes, 
profaned as they are by all the evil visions and 
idolatrous fascinations for which men have aban- 
doned their Adorable Creator ? And His ears, 
they ring with sounds of revelry and of strife ; 
and His heart is frozen with avarice, and cruelty, 
and unbelief ; and His very memory is laden 
with every sin which has been committed since 


the fall, in all regions of the earth, with the pride 
of the old giants, and the lusts of the five cities, 
and the obduracy of Egypt, and the ambition of 
Babel, and the unthankfulness and scorn of Israel. 
O who does not know the misery of a haunting 
thought which comes again and again, in spite of 
rejection, to annoy, if it cannot seduce ? or of 
some odious and sickening imagination, in no 
sense one's own, but forced upon the mind from 
without ? or of evil knowledge, gained with or 
without a man's fault, but which he would give a 
great price to be rid of at once and for ever ? 
And adversaries such as these gather around Thee, 
Blessed Lord, in millions now ; they come in 
troops more numerous than the locust or the 
palmer-worm, or the plagues of hail, and flies, and 
frogs, which were sent against Pharaoh. Of the 
living and of the dead and of the as yet unborn, 
of the lost and of the saved, of Thy people and 
of strangers, of sinners and of Saints, all sins are 
there. Thy dearest are there, Thy Saints and Thy 
chosen are upon Thee ; Thy three Apostles, Peter, 
James, and John, but not as comforters, but as 
accusers, hke the friends of Job, "sprinkhng dust 
towards heaven," and heaping curses on Thy 
head. All are there but one ; one only is not 
there, one only ; for she, who had no part in sin, she 
only could console Thee, and therefore she is not 
nigh. She will be near Thee on the Cross, she 

s 2 


is separated from Thee in the garden. She has 
been Thy companion and Thy confidant through 
Thy hfe, she interchanged with Thee the pure 
thoughts and holy meditations of thirty years ; 
but her virgin ear may not take in, nor may her 
immaculate heart conceive, what now is in vision 
before Thee. None was equal to the weight but 
God ; sometimes before Thy Saints Thou hast 
brought the image of a single sin, as it appears in 
the light of Thy countenance, a venial sin, per- 
haps, not a mortal one ; and they have told us 
that the sight did all but kill them, nay, would 
have killed them, had it not been instantly with- 
drawn. The Mother of God, for all her sanctity, 
nay by reason of it, could not have borne even 
one brood of that innumerable progeny of Satan 
which compasses Thee about. It is the long 
history of a world, and God alone can bear the 
load of it. Hopes blighted, vows broken, lights 
quenched, warnings scorned, opportunities lost ; 
the innocent betrayed, the young hardened, the 
penitent relapsing, the just overcome, the aged 
failing ; the sophistry of misbelief, the wilfulness 
of passion, the obduracy of pride, the tyranny of 
habit, the canker of remorse, the wasting fever of 
care, the anguish of shame, the pining of disap- 
pointment, the sickness of despair ; such cruel, 
such pitiable spectacles, such heartrending, re- 
volting, detestable, maddening scenes ; nay, the 


haggard faces, the convulsed Hps, the flushed 
cheek, the dark brow of the willing victims of 
rebellion, they are all before Him now ; they are 
upon Him and in Him. They are with Him 
instead of that ineffable peace which has inhabited 
His soul since the moment of His conception. 
They are upon Him, they are all but His own ; 
He cries to His Father as if He were the criminal, 
not the victim ; His agony takes the form of 
guilt and compunction. He is doing penance, 
He is making confession, He is exercising contri- 
tion with a reality and a virtue infinitely greater 
than that of all Saints and penitents together ; 
for He is the One Victim for us all, the sole 
Satisfaction, the real Penitent, all but the real 

He rises languidly from the earth, and turns 
around to meet the traitor and his band, now 
quickly nearing the deep shade. He turns, and 
lo! there is blood upon His garment and in His 
footprints. Whence come these first-fruits of the 
passion of the Lamb ? no soldier's scourge has 
touched His shoulders, nor the hangman's nails 
His hands and feet. My brethren. He has bled 
before His time ; He has shed blood ; yes, and it is 
His agonizing soul which has broken up His frame- 
work of flesh and poured it forth. His passion has 
begun from within. That tormented Heart, the 
seat of tenderness and love, began at length to 


labour and to beat with vehemence beyond its na- 
ture ; " the foundations of the great deep were 
broken up;" the red streams rushed forth so copious 
and fierce as to overflow the veins, and, bursting 
through the pores, they stood in a thick dew over His 
whole skin ; then forming into drops, they rolled 
down full and heavy, and drenched the ground. 

"My soul is sorrowful even unto death," He 
said. It has been said of that dreadful pestilence 
which now is upon us, that it begins with death ; by 
which is meant that it has no stages or crisis, that 
hope is over when it comes, and that what looks 
like its course is but the death agony and the 
process of dissolution. And thus our Atoning 
Sacrifice, in a much higher sense, began with this 
passion of woe, and only did not die, because at 
His omnipotent will His Heart did not break, 
nor Soul separate from Body, till He had suffered 
on the Cross. 

No, He has not yet exhausted that full chalice, 
from which at first His natural infirmity shrank. 
The seizure, and the arraignment, and the buffet- 
ing, and the prison, and the trial, and the mock- 
ing, and the passing to and fro, and the scourging, 
and the Crown of thorns, and the slow march to 
Calvary, and the crucifixion, these are all to come. 
A night and a day, hour after hour, is slowly to 
run out before the end comes, and the Satisfaction 
is completed. 


And then, when the appointed moment arrived, 
and He gave the word, as His passion had begun 
with His soul, with the soul did it end. He did 
not die of bodily exhaustion, or of bodily pain ; 
His tormented Heart broke, and He commended 
His Spirit to the Father. 

" O Heart of Jesus, all Love, I offer Thee 
these humble prayers for myself and for all those, 
who unite themselves with me in spirit to adore 
Thee. O holiest Heart of Jesus most lovely, I 
intend to renew and to offer to Thee these acts of 
adoration and these prayers, for myself a wretched 
sinner, and for all those who are associated in Thy 
adoration, through all moments while I breathe 
even to the end of my "life. I recommend to Thee, 
O my Jesus, Holy Church, Thy dear spouse, and 
our true Mother, the souls that do justice, and 
all poor sinners, the afflicted, the dying, and 
all mankind. Let not Thy Blood be shed for 
them in vain. Finally, deign to apply it in relief 
of the souls in Purgatory, those in particular, who 
have practised in the course of their life this holy 
devotion of adoring Thee." 



We know, my brethren, that in the natural world 
nothing is superfluous, nothing incomplete, no- 
thing independent ; but part answers to part, and 
all details combine to form one mighty whole. 
Order and harmony are among the first perfections 
which we discern in this visible creation ; and the 
more we examine into it, the more widely and 
minutely they are found to belong to it. "All 
things are double," says the Wise Man, "one 
against another ; and He hath made nothing 
defective." It is the very character and defini- 
tion of " the heavens and the earth," as contrasted 
with the void or chaos which preceded them, that 
everythingisnowsubjected to fixed laws ; and every 
motion, and influence, and effect can be accounted 
for, and, were our knowledge sufficient, could be 
anticipated. Moreover, it is plain, on the other 


hand, that it is only in proportion to our observa- 
tion and our research that this truth becomes 
apparent ; for though a number of things even at 
first sight are seen to proceed according to an 
estabhshed and beautiful order, yet in other in- 
stances the law to which they are conformed is 
with difficulty discovered ; and the words "chance," 
and " hazard," and " fortune," have come into use 
as expressions of our ignorance. Accordingly you 
may fancy rash and irreligious minds, who are 
engaged day after day in the business of the 
world, suddenly looking out into the heavens or 
upon the earth, and criticising the great Architect, 
arguing that there are creatures in existence which 
are rude or defective in their constitution, and 
asking questions which would but evidence their 
want of scientific education. 

The case is the same as regards the super- 
natural world. The great truths of revelation 
are all connected together and form a whole. 
Every one can see this in a measure even at a 
glance, but to understand the full consistency 
and harmony of Catholic teaching requires study 
and meditation. Hence, as philosophers of this 
world bury themselves in museums and labora- 
tories, descend into mines, or wander among 
woods or on the sea-shore, so the inquirer into 
heavenly truths dwells in the cell and the oratory, 
pouring forth his heart in prayer, collecting his 


thoughts in meditation, dwelling on the idea of 
Jesus, or of Mary, or of grace, or of eternity, and 
pondering the words of holy men who have gone 
before him, till before his mental sight arises the 
hidden wisdom of the perfect, " which God pre- 
destined before the world unto our glory," and 
which He " reveals unto them by His Spirit." 
And, as ignorant men may dispute the beauty 
and perfection of the visible creation, so men, 
who for six days in the week are absorbed in 
worldly toil, who hve for wealth, or station, or 
self-indulgence, or profane knowledge, and do 
but give their leisure moments to the thought of 
religion, never raising their souls to God, never 
asking for His enhghtening grace, never chas- 
tening their hearts and bodies, never steadily 
contemplating the objects of faith, but judging 
hastily and peremptorily according to their private 
views or the humour of the hour ; such men, I 
say, in like manner, may easily, or will for certain, 
be surprised and shocked at portions of revealed 
truth, as if strange, or harsh, or extreme, or 
inconsistent, and will in whole or in part reject 

I am going to apply this remark to the subject of 
the prerogatives with which the Church invests 
the Blessed Mother of God. They are startling 
and difficult to those whose imagination is not 
accustomed to them, and whose reason has not 


reflected on them ; but the more carefully and 
religiously they are dwelt on, the more, I am 
sure, will they be found essential to the Catholic 
faith, and integral to the worship of Christ. This 
simply is the point which I shall insist on, dis- 
putable indeed by aliens to the Church, but most 
clear to her children, that the glories of Mary are 
for the sake of Jesus ; and that we praise and 
bless her as the first of creatures, that we may 
duly confess Him as our sole Creator. 

When the Eternal Word decreed to come on 
earth. He did not purpose. He did not work, by 
halves ; but He came to be a man like any of us, 
to take a human soul and body, and to make 
them His own. He did not come in a mere 
apparent or accidental form, as Angels appear to 
men ; nor did He merely overshadow an existing 
man, as He overshadowed His saints, and call 
him by the Name of God ; but He " was made 
flesh," He attached to Himself a manhood, and 
became as really and truly man as He was God, 
so that henceforth He was both God and man, or, 
in other words, He was one Person in two natures, 
divine and human. This is a mystery so mar- 
vellous, so difficult, that faith alone firmly receives 
it ; the natural man may receive it for a while, 
may think he receives it, but never really receives 
it ; begins, as soon as he has professed it, secretly 
to rebel against it, evades it, or revolts from it. 


This he has done from the first ; even in the Hfe- 
time of the beloved disciple men arose, who said 
that our Lord had no body at all, or a body 
framed in the heavens, or that He did not sufier, 
but another suffered in His stead, or that He was 
but for a time with the human form which was 
born and which suffered, coming on it at its 
baptism, and leaving it before its crucifixion, or 
that He was a mere man. That " in the begin- 
ning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God, and the Word was made 
flesh and dwelt among us," was too hard a thing 
for the unregenerate reason. 

The case is the same at this day ; few Pro- 
testants have any real perception of the doctrine 
of God and man in one Person. They speak in 
a dreamy, shadowy w ay of Christ's divinity ; but, 
when their meaning is sifted, you will find them 
very slow to commit themselves to any statement 
sufficient to express the Catholic dogma. They 
will tell you at once, that the subject is not to 
be inquired into, for that it is impossible to 
inquire into it at all, without being technical 
and subtle. Then when they comment on the 
Gospels, they will speak of Christ, not simply 
and consistently as God, but as a being made up 
of God and man, partly one and partly the other, 
or between both, or as a man inhabited by a 
special divine presence. Sometimes they even go 


on to deny that He was the Son of God in heaven, 
saying that He became the Son, when He was 
conceived of the Holy Ghost ; and they are 
shocked, and think it a mark both of reverence 
and good sense to be shocked, when they hear 
the Man spoken of simply and plainly as God. 
They cannot bear to have it said, except as a 
figure or mode of speaking, that God had a 
himian body, or that God suiFered ; they think 
that the " Atonement," and " Sanctification 
through the Spirit," as they speak, is the sum and 
substance of the Gospel, and they are shy of any 
dogmatic expression which goes beyond them. 
Such, I beheve, is the character of the Protestant 
notions among us on the divinity of Christ, 
whether among members of the Anglican com- 
munion, or dissenters from it, excepting a small 
remnant of them. 

Now, if you would witness against these un- 
christian opinions, if you would bring out dis- 
tinctly and beyond mistake and evasion, the 
simple idea of the Catholic Church that God is 
man, could you do it better than by laying down 
in St. John's words that " God heca7ne'' man ? 
and could you express this again more emphati- 
cally and unambiguously than by declaring that 
He was horn a man, or that He had a Mother f 
The world allows that God is man ; the admis- 
sion costs it little, for God is every where, and 


(as it may say) is every thing ; but it shrinks 
from confessing that God is the Son of Mary. 
It shrinks, for it is at once confronted with a 
severe fact, which violates and shatters its own 
unbelieving view of things ; the revealed doctrine 
forthwith takes its true shape, and receives an 
historical reality ; and the Almighty is introduced 
into His own world at a certain time and in a 
definite way. Dreams are broken and shadows 
depart ; the truth of God is no longer a poetical 
expression, or a devotional exaggeration, or a 
mystical economy, or a mythical representa- 
tion. " Sacrifice and offering," the shadows of the 
Law, " Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou 
fitted to Me." " That which was from the begin- 
ning, which we have heard, which we have seen 
with our eyes, which we have dihgently looked 
upon, and our hands have handled," " That which 
we have seen and have heard, declare we unto 
you ;" such is the record of the Apostle, in op- 
position to those " spirits" which denied that 
" Jesus Christ had appeared in the flesh," and 
which " dissolved" Him by denying either His 
human nature or His divine. And the confession 
that Mary is Deipara, or the Mother of God, is 
that safeguard wherewith we seal up and secure 
the doctrine of the Apostle from all evasion, and 
that test whereby we detect all the pretences of 
those bad spirits of " Antichrist which have gone 


out into the world." It declares that He is God ; 
it implies that He is man ; it conveys to us that 
He is God still, though He has become man, and 
that He is true man though He is God. By 
witnessing to the process of the union, it secures 
the reality of the two subjects of it, of the divinity 
and of the manhood. If Mary is the Mother of 
God, Christ is understood to be Emmanuel, God 
with us. And hence it was, that, when time 
went on, and the bad spirits and false prophets 
grew stronger and bolder and found a way into 
the Catholic body itself, then the Church, guided 
by God, could find no more effectual and sure way 
of expelling them, than that of using this word 
Deipara against them ; and, on the other hand, 
when they came up again from the realms of 
darkness, and plotted the utter overthrow of 
Christian faith in the sixteenth century, then they 
could find no more certain expedient for their 
hateful purpose, than that of reviling and blas- 
pheming the prerogatives of Mary, for they knew 
full sure that, if they could once get the world to 
dishonour the Mother, the dishonour of the Son 
would follow close. The Church and Satan 
agreed together in this, that Son and Mother went 
together ; and the experience of three centuries 
has confirmed their testimony ; for Catholics who 
have honoured the Mother, still worship the Son, 
while Protestants who now have ceased to confess 


the Son, had begun then by scoffing at the Mo- 

You see then, my brethren, in this particular, 
the harmonious consistency of the revealed sys- 
tem, and the bearing of one doctrine upon ano- 
ther ; Mary is exalted for the sake of Jesus. It 
was fitting that she, as being a creature, though 
the first of creatures, should have an office of 
ministration. She, as others, came into the world 
to do a work, she had a mission to fulfil ; her 
grace and her glory are not for her own sake, but 
for her Maker's ; and to her is committed the 
custody of the Incarnation ; this is her appointed 
office, — " A Virgin shall conceive, and bear a 
Son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel." 
As she was once on earth and was personally the 
guardian of her Divine Son, as she carried Him 
in her womb, folded Him in her embrace, and 
suckled Him at her breast, so now, and to the 
latest hour of the Church, do her glories and the 
devotion paid her proclaim and define the right 
faith concerning Him as God and man. Every 
Church which is dedicated to her, every altar 
which is raised under her invocation, every image 
which represents her, every Litany in her praise, 
every Hail Mary for her continual memory, does 
but remind us that there was One, who, though 
He was all blessed from all eternity, yet for the 
sake of sinners, " did not shrink from the Virgin's 


womb." Thus she is the Turris Davidica^ as 
the Church calls her, " the Tower of David ;" the 
high and strong defence of the King of the true 
Israel ; and hence the Church also addresses her 
in the Antiphon, as having " by herself destroyed 
all heresies in the whole world." 

And here, my brethren, a fresh thought opens 
upon us, which is naturally implied in what has 
been said. If the Deipara is to witness of Em- 
manuel, she must be necessarily more than the 
Deipara. For consider ; a defence must be strong 
in order to be a defence ; a tower must be, like 
that Tower of David, " built with bulwarks ;" " a 
thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of 
valiant men." It would not have sufficed, in order 
to bring out and impress on us the idea that God 
is man, had His Mother been an ordinary person. 
A mother without a home in the Church, without 
dignity, without gifts, would have been, as far as 
the defence of the Incarnation goes, no mother at 
all. She would not have remained in the memory, 
or the imagination of men. If she is to witness 
and remind the world that God became man, she 
must be on a high and eminent station for the 
purpose. She must be made to fill the mind, in 
order to suggest the lesson. When she once attracts 
our attention, then and not till then, she begins to 
preach Jesus. " Why should she have such pre- 
rogatives," we ask, " unless He be God ? and what 


must He be by nature, when she is so high by 
grace ?" This is why she has other prerogatives 
besides, namely, the gifts of personal purity and 
intercessory power, distinct from her maternity ; 
she is personally endowed that she may perform 
her office well ; she is exalted in herself that she 
may minister to Christ. 

For this reason, she has been made more 
glorious in her person than in her office ; her 
purity is a higher gift than her relationship to 
God. This is what is implied in Christ's answer 
to the woman in the crowd, who cried out, when 
He was preaching, " Blessed is the womb that 
bare Thee, and the breasts which Thou hast 
sucked." He replied by pointing out to His dis- 
ciples a higher blessedness ; "Yea, rather blessed," 
He said, " are they who hear the word of God 
and keep it." You know, my brethren, that 
Protestants take these words in disparagement of 
our Lady's greatness, but they really tell the 
other way. For consider them carefully ; He 
says that it is more blessed to keep His command- 
ments than to be His Mother ; but what Pro- 
testant even will say that she did not keep His 
commandments ? She kept them surely, and our 
Lord does but say that such obedience was in a 
higher line of privilege than her being His 
Mother ; she was more blessed in her detachment 
from creatures, in her devotion to God, in her 


virginal purity, in her fulness of grace, than in her 
maternity. This is the constant teaching of the 
Holy Fathers : " More blessed was Mary," says St. 
Augustine, " in receiving Christ's faith, than in 
conceiving Christ's flesh ;" and St. Chrj^sostom 
declares, that she would not have been blessed, 
though she had borne Him in the body, had she 
not heard the word of God and kept it. This of 
course is an impossible case ; for she was made 
holy, that she might be made His Mother, and the 
two blessednesses cannot be divided. She who was 
chosen to supply flesh and blood to the Eternal 
Word, was first filled with grace in soul and body ; 
still, she had a double blessedness, of office, and 
of quahfication for it, and the latter was the 
Greater. And it is on this account that the 
Angel calls her blessed ; " Full of grace^'" 
he says, " blessed among women ;" and St. Eliza- 
beth also, when she cries out, " Blessed thou that 
hast believed" Nay, she herself bears a like testi- 
mony, when the Angel announced to her the favour 
which was coming on her. Though all Jewish 
women in each successive age had been hoping 
to be Mother of the Christ, so that marriage was 
honourable among them, celibacy a reproach, she 
alone had put aside the desire and the thought of 
so great a dignity. She alone, who was to bear 
the Christ, refused to bear Him ; He stooped to 
her, she turned from Him ; and why ? because 



she had been inspired, the first of womankind, to 
dedicate her virginity to God, and she did not 
welcome a privilege which seemed to involve a 
forfeiture of her vow. How shall this be, she 
asked, seeing I am separate from man ? Nor, 
till the Angel told her that the conception would 
be miraculous and from the Holy Ghost, did she 
put aside her " trouble " of mind, recognize him 
securely as God's messenger, and bow her head 
in awe and thankfulness to God's condescen- 

Mary then is a specimen, and more than a 
specimen, in the purity of her soul and body, of 
what man was before liis fall, and what he would 
have been, had he risen to his full perfection. It 
had been hard, it had been a victory for the evil 
one, had the whole race passed away, nor any 
one instance in it occurred to show what the 
Creator had intended it to be in its original state. 
Adam, you know, was created in the image and 
after the hkeness of God ; his frail and imperfect 
nature, stamped with a divine seal, was supported 
and exalted by an indwelling of divine grace. 
Impetuous passion did not exist in him, except as 
a latent element and a possible evil ; ignorance was 
dissipated by the clear hght of the Spirit ; and 
reason, sovereign over every motion of his soul, 
was simply subjected to the will of God. Nay 
even his body was preserved from every wayward 


appetite and affection, and was promised immor- 
tality instead of dissolution. Thus he was in a 
supernatural state ; and, had he not sinned, year 
after year would he have advanced in merit and 
grace, and in God's favour, till he passed from 
paradise to heaven. But he fell ; and his de- 
scendants were born in his likeness ; and the 
world grew worse instead of better, and judg- 
ment after judgment cut off generations of sin- 
ners in vain, and improvement was hopeless, 
" because man was flesh," and " the thoughts of 
bis heart were bent upon evil at all times." But 
a remedy had been determined in heaven ; a 
Redeemer was at hand ; God was about to do a 
great work, and He purposed to do it suitably ; 
" where sin abounded, grace was to abound more." 
Kings of the earth, when they have sons born to 
them, forthwith scatter some large bounty, or 
raise some high memorial ; they honour the day, 
or the place, or the heralds of the auspicious 
event, with some corresponding mark of favour ; 
nor did the coming of Emmanuel innovate on the 
world's established custom.. It was a season of 
grace and prodigy, and these were to be exhibited 
in a special manner in the person of His Mother. 
The course of ages was to be reversed ; the 
tradition of evil was to be broken ; a gate of 
light was to be opened amid the darkness, for the 
coming of the Just ; — a Virgin conceived and 


bore Him. It was fitting, for His honour and 
glory, that she, who was the instrument of His 
bodily presence, should first be a miracle of His 
grace ; it was fitting that she should triumph, 
where Eve had failed, and should "bruise the 
serpent's head" by the spotlessness of her sanctity. 
In some respects, indeed, the curse was not 
reversed ; Mary came into a fallen world, and 
resigned herself to its laws ; she, as also the Son 
she bore, was exposed to pain of soul and body, 
she was subjected to death ; but she was not put 
under the power of sin. As grace was infused 
into Adam from the first moment of his creation, 
so that he never had experience of his natural 
poverty, till sin reduced him to it ; so was grace 
given from the first in still ampler measure to 
Mary, and she never incurred Adam's deprivation. 
She began where others end, whether in know- 
ledge or in love. She was from the first clothed 
in sanctity, sealed for perseverance, luminous and 
glorious in God's sight, and incessantly em- 
ployed in meritorious acts, which continued till 
her last breath. Her's was emphatically "the 
path of the just, which, as the shining light, 
goeth forward and increaseth even to the perfect 
day ;" and sinlessness in thought, word, and 
deed, in small things as well as great, in venial 
matter as well as grievous, is surely but the 
natural and obvious sequel of such a beginning. 


If Adam might have kept himself from sin in his 
first state, much more shall we expect immaculate 
perfection in Mary. 

Such is her prerogative of sinless perfection, and 
it is, as her maternity, for the sake of Emmanuel ; 
hence she answered the Angel's salutation Gratia 
plena^ with the humble acknowledgment, Ecce 
ancilla Domini., " Behold the handmaid of the 
Lord." And like to this is her third prerogative, 
which follows both from her maternity and from 
her purity, and which I will mention as complet- 
ing the enumeration of her glories. I mean her 
intercessory power. For, if " God heareth not 
sinners, but if a man be a worshipper of Him, 
and do His will, him He heareth ;" if " the con- 
tinual prayer of a just man availeth much ;" if 
faithful Abraham was required to pray for Abime- 
lech, "for he was a prophet ;" if patient Job was 
to " pray for his friends," for he had " spoken 
right things before God ;" if meek Moses, by 
lifting up his hands, turned the battle in favour of 
Israel against Amalec ; why should we wonder at 
hearing that Mary, the only spotless child of 
Adam's seed, has a transcendent influence with 
the God of grace ? And if the Gentiles at Jeru- 
salem sought PhiHp, because he was an Apostle, 
when they desired access to Jesus, and Phihp 
spoke to Andrew, as still more closely in our 
Lord's confidence, and then both came to Him, is 


it strange that the Mother should have power with 
the Son, distinct in kind from that of the purest 
Angel and the most triumphant Saint ? If we 
have faith to admit the Incarnation itself, we must 
admit it in its fulness ; why then should we start 
at the gracious appointments which arise out of it, 
or are necessary to it, or are included in it ? K 
the Creator comes on earth in the form of a ser- 
vant and a creature, why may not His Mother on 
the other hand rise to be the Queen of heaven, 
and be clothed with the sun, and have the moon 
under her feet ? 

I am not proving these doctrines to you, my 
brethren ; the evidence of them lies in the decla- 
ration of the Church. The Church is the oracle 
of religious truth, and dispenses what the Apos- 
tles committed to her in every time and place. 
We must take her word, then, without proof, 
because she is sent to us from God to teach us 
how to please Him ; and that we do so is the 
test whether we be really Cathohcs or no. I am 
not proving then what you already receive, but I 
am showing you the beauty and the harmony, as 
seen in one instance, of the Church's teaching ; 
which are so* well adapted, as they are divinely 
intended, to recommend it to the inquirer and to 
endear it to her children. One word more, and I 
have done ; I have shown you how full of mean- 
ing are the truths themselves which the Church 


teaches concerning the Most Blessed Virgin, and 
now consider how full of meaninor also has been 
the Church's dispensation of them. 

You will find then, in this respect, as in Mary's 
prerogatives themselves, there is the same careful 
reference to the glory of Him who gave them to 
her. You know, when first He went out to 
preach, she kept apart from Him ; she interfered 
not with His work ; and even when He was 
gone up on high, yet she, a woman, went not out 
to preach or teach, she seated not herself in the 
Apostolic chair, she took no part in the Priest's 
office ; she did but humbly seek her Son in the 
daily Mass of those, who, though her ministers in 
heaven, were her superiors in the Church on 
earth. Nor, when she and they had left this 
lower scene, and she was a Queen upon her Son's 
right hand, not even then did she ask of Him to 
publish her name to the ends of the world or to 
hold her up to the world's gaze, but she remained 
waiting for the time, when her ow^n glory should 
be necessary for His. He indeed had been from 
the first proclaimed by Holy Church, and en- 
throned in His temple, for He was God ; ill had 
it beseemed the living Oracle of Truth to have 
withholden from the faithful the very object of 
their adoration ; but it was otherwise with Mary. 
It became her, as a creature, a mother, and a 
woman, to stand aside and make way for the 


Creator, to minister to her Son, and to win her 
way into the world's homage by sweet and gra- 
cious persuasion. So when His Name was dis- 
honoured, she forthwith was filled with zeal ; when 
Emmanuel was denied, then the Mother of God 
came forward ; the Mother threw her arms 
around her Son, and let herself be honoured in 
order to secure His Throne. And then, when 
she had accomplished as much as this, she had 
done with strife ; she fought not for herself. No 
fierce controversy, no persecuted confessors, no 
heresiarch, no anathema, marks the history of her 
manifestation ; as she had increased day by day 
in grace and merit, while the world knew not of 
it, so has she raised herself aloft silently, and has 
grown into her place in the Church by a tranquil 
influence and a natural process. It was as some 
fair tree, stretching forth her fruitful branches 
and her fragrant leaves, and overshadowing the 
territory of the Saints. And thus the Antiphon 
speaks of her ; " Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, 
and thine inheritance in Israel, and strike thy 
roots in My elect." Again, " And so in Sion was 
I established, and in the holy city I likewise 
rested, and in Jerusalem was my power. And I 
took root in an honourable people, and in the glo- 
rious company of the Saints was I detained. I 
was exalted like a cedar in Lebanus, and as a 
cypress in mount Sion ; I have stretched out My 


branches as the terebinth, and My branches are 
of honour and grace." Thus was she reared 
without hands, and gained a modest victory, and 
exerts a gentle sway, which she has not claimed. 
When dispute arose about her among her children, 
she hushed it; when objections were urged against 
her, she waived her claims and waited ; till now, 
in this very day, should God so will, she will win 
at length her most radiant crown, and, without 
opposing voice, and amid the jubilation of the 
whole Church, she will be hailed as immaculate in 
her conce|)tion. 

Such art thou, Holy Mother, in the creed and 
the worship of the Church, the defence of many 
truths, the grace and smiling light of every devo- 
tion. In thee, O Mary, is fulfilled, as we can 
bear it, an original purpose of the Most High. 
He once had meant to come on earth in heavenly 
glory, but we sinned ; and then He could not 
safely visit us, except with shrouded radiance and 
a bedimmed majesty, for He was God. So He 
came Himself in weakness, not in power; and He 
sent thee a creature, in His stead, with a crea- 
tures' s comeliness and lustre suited to our state. 
And now thy very face and form, sweet Mother, 
speak to us of the Eternal ; not like earthly 
beauty, dangerous to look upon, but like the 
morning star, which is thy emblem, bright and 
musical, breathing purity, telling of heaven, and 

T 2 


infusing peace. harbinger of day ! O hope of 
the pilgrim ! lead us still as thou hast led ; in 
the dark night, across the bleak wilderness, guide 
us on to Jesus, guide us home. 

Maria, mater gratise, 
Dulcis parens clementiae, 
Tu nos ab hoste protege 
. Et mortis hora suscipe. 



You may recollect, my brethren, our Lord's 
words, when on the day of His resurrection He 
had joined the two disciples on their way to 
Emmaus, and found them sad and perplexed in 
consequence of His death. He said, " Ought not 
Christ to suffer these things, and so to enter into 
His glory ?" He appealed to the fitness and con- 
gruity which exist between this otherwise surpris- 
ing event and the other truths which had been 
revealed concerning the divine purpose of saving 
the world. And so too, St. Paul, in speaking of 
the same wonderful appointment of God ; " It 
became Him," he says, "for whom are all things, 
and through whom are all things, who had brought 
many sons unto glory, to consummate the Author 
of their salvation by suffering." Elsewhere, 
speaking of prophesying, or exposition of what is 


latent in divine truth, he bids his brethren exer- 
cise the gift " according to the analogy or rule of 
faith ;" that is, so that the doctrine preached may 
correspond and fit in to what is already received. 
Thus you see, it is a great evidence of truth, in the 
case of revealed teaching, that it is so consistent, 
that it so hangs together, that one thing springs 
out of another, that each part requires and is 
required by the rest. 

This great principle, which is exemplified so 
variously in the structure and history of Catholic 
doctrine, which will receive more and more illustra- 
tions the more carefully and minutely we examine 
the subject, is brought before us especially at this 
season, when we are celebrating the Assumption 
of our Blessed Lady, the Mother of God, into 
heaven. We believe it on ancient tradition ; but, 
viewed in the light of reason, it is the fitness of 
this termination of her earthly course, which so 
persuasively recommends it to our minds : we feel 
it " ought" to be ; that it " becomes" her Lord 
and Son thus to provide for one who was so 
singular and special both in herself and her rela- 
tions to Him. We find that it is simply in har- 
mony with the substance and main outlines of 
the doctrine of the Incarnation, and that without 
it Catholic teaching would have a character of 
incompleteness, and would disappoint our pious 


Let us direct our thoughts to this subject to-day, 
my brethren ; and with a view of helping you to 
do so, I will first state what the Church has taught 
and defined from the first ages concerning the 
Blessed Virgin, and then you will see how natu- 
rally the devotion which her children show her, 
and the praises with which they honour her, 
follow from it. 

Now, as you know, it has been held from the 
first, and defined from an early age, that Mary is 
the Mother of God. She is not merely the 
Mother of our Lord's manhood, or of our Lord's 
body, but she is to be considered the Mother of 
the Word Himself, the Word incarnate. God, 
in the Person of the Word, the Second Person 
of the All-glorious Trinity, humbled Himself to 
become her Son. Non horruisti Virginis ute- 
rum^ as the Church sings, " Thou didst not shrink 
from the Virgin's womb." He took the substance 
of His human flesh from her, and clothed in it 
He lay within her ; and He bore it about with 
Him after birth, as a sort of badge and witness, 
that He, though God, was hers. He was nursed 
and tended by her ; He was suckled by her ; He 
lay in her arms. As time went on, He ministered 
to her, and obeyed her. He lived with her for 
thirty years, in one house, with an uninterrupted 
intercourse, and with only the saintly Joseph 
to share it with Him. She was the witness of 


His growth, of His joys, of His sorrows, of His 
prayers ; she was blest with His smile, with the 
touch of His hand, with the whisper of His affec- 
tions, with the expression of His thoughts and His 
feelings for that length of time. Now, my bre- 
thren, what ought she to be, what is it becoming 
that she should be, who was so favoured ? 

Such a question was once asked by a heathen 
king, when he would place one of his subjects in a 
dignity becoming the relation in which the latter 
stood towards him. That subject had saved the 
king's life, and what was to be done to him in return? 
The king asked, " What should be done to the 
man whom the king desireth to honour ?" And 
received the following answer, " The man whom 
the king wisheth to honour ought to be clad 
in the king's apparel, and to be mounted on the 
king's saddle, and to receive the royal diadem on 
his head ; and let the first among the king's 
princes and presidents hold his horse, and let him 
walk through the streets of the city, and say. 
Thus shall he be honoured, whom the king hath 
a mind to honour." So stands the case with Mary ; 
she gave birth to the Creator, and what recom- 
pense shall be made her ? what shall be done to 
her, who had this relationship to the Most High ? 
what shall be the fit accompaniment of one whom 
the Almighty has deigned to make, not His ser- 
vant, not His friend, not His intimate, but His 


superior, the source of His second being, the 
nurse of His helpless infancy, the teacher of His 
opening years ? I answer, as the king was an- 
swered : Nothing is too high for her to whom 
God owes His human life ; no exuberance of 
grace, no excess of glory but is becoming, but is 
to be expected there, where God has lodged 
Himself, whence God has issued. Let her " be 
clad in the king's apparel," that is, let the fulness 
of the Godhead so flow into her that she may be 
a figure of the incommunicable sanctity, and beauty, 
and glory, of God Himself: that she may be the 
Mirror of Justice, the Mystical Kose, the Tower 
of Ivory, the House of Gold, the Morning Star ; — 
let her " receive the king's diadem upon her head," 
as the Queen of heaven, the Mother of all living, 
the Health of the weak, the Refuge of sinners, the 
Comforter of the afflicted ; — and " let the first 
amongst the king's princes walk before her," let 
Angels, and Prophets, and Apostles, and Martyrs, 
and all Saints kiss the hem of her garment 
and rejoice under the shadow of her throne. 
Thus is it that King Solomon has risen up to meet 
His Mother, and bowled Himself unto her, and 
caused a seat to be set for the Iving's Mother, and 
she sits on His right hand. 

We should be prepared then, my brethren, to 
believe, that the Mother of God is full of grace 
and glory, from the very fitness of such a dispen- 


sation, even though we had not been taught it ; 
and this fitness will appear still more clear and 
certain when we contemplate the subject more 
steadily. Consider then, that it has been the 
ordinary rule of God's dealings with us, that per- 
sonal sanctity should be the attendant upon high 
spiritual dignity of place or work. The Angels, 
who, as the word imports, are God's messengers, 
are also perfect in holiness ; " without sanctity no 
one shall see God ;" no defiled thing can enter 
the courts of heaven ; and the higher its inhabi- 
tants are advanced in their ministry about the 
throne, the holier are they, and the more absorbed 
in their contemplation of that Holiness upon 
which they wait. The Seraphim, who imme- 
diately surround the Divine Glory, cry day and 
night, " Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts." 
So is it also on earth ; the Prophets have ordi- 
narily not only gifts, but graces ; they are not 
only inspired to know and to teach God's will, 
but inwardly converted to obey it. For surely 
those only can preach the truth duly, who 
feel it personally ; those only transmit it fully 
from God to man, who have in the transmission 
made it their own. 

I do not say that there are no exceptions to 
this rule, but they admit of an easy explanation ; 
I do not say that it never pleases Almighty God 
to convey any intimation of His will through bad 


men ; of course, for all things can be made to 
serve Him. By all, even the wicked. He accom- 
plishes His purposes, and by the wicked He is 
glorified. Our Lord's death was brought about 
by His enemies, who did His will, while they 
thought they were gratifying their own. Caiaphas, 
who contrived and effected it, was made use of 
to predict it. Balaam prophesied good of God's 
people in an earlier age, by a divine compulsion, 
when he wished to prophesy evil. This is true ; 
but in such cases Divine Mercy is plainly over- 
ruling the evil, and manifesting His power, 
without recognizing or sanctioning the instru- 
ment. And again, it is true, as He tells us 
Himself, that in the last day " Many shall say, 
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy 
Name, and in Thy Name cast out devils, and done 
many miracles ?" and that He shall answer, " I 
never knew you." This, I say, is undeniable ; it 
is undeniable first, that those who have prophesied 
in God's Name may afterwards fall from God, 
and lose their souls. Let a man be ever so holy 
now, he may fall away ; and, as present grace is 
no pledge of perseverance, much less are present 
gifts ; but how does this show that gifts and 
graces do not commonly go together ? Again, it 
is undeniable that those who have had miraculous 
gifts may nevertheless have never been in God's 
favour, not even when they exercised them j as I 


will explain presently. But I am now speakiQg, 
not of having gifts, but of being prophets. To 
be a prophet is something much more personal 
than to possess gifts. It is a sacred office, it 
implies a mission, and is the high distinction, not 
of the enemies of God, but of His friends. Such 
is the Scripture rule ; who was the first prophet 
and preacher of justice? Enoch, who walked 
"by faith," and "pleased God," and was taken 
from a rebellious world. Who was the second ? 
" Noe," who " condemned the world, and was 
made heir of the justice which is through faith." 
Who was the next great prophet ? Moses, the 
lawgiver of the chosen people, who was the 
" meekest of all men who dwell on the earth." 
Samuel comes next, who served the Lord from 
his infancy in the Temple ; and then David, who, 
if he fell into sin, repented, and was " a man after 
God's heart." And in like manner Job, Ehas, 
Isaias, Jeremias, Daniel, and above them all St. 
John Baptist, and then again St. Peter, St. Paul, 
St. John, and the rest, are all especial instances 
of heroic virtue, and patterns to their brethren. 
Judas is the exception, but this was by a par- 
ticular dispensation to enhance our Lord's humi- 
liation and suffering. 

Nature itself witnesses to this connexion be- 
tween sanctity and truth. It anticipates that the 
fountain from which pure doctrine comes, should 


itself be pure ; that the seat of divine teaching, 
and the oracle of faith, should be the abode of 
Angels ; that the consecrated home, in which 
the word of God is elaborated, and whence it 
issues forth for the salvation of the many, should 
be holy, as that word is holy. Here you see the 
difference of the office of a prophet and a mere gift, 
such as that of miracles. Miracles are the simple 
and direct work of God ; the worker of them is 
but an instrument or organ. And in consequence 
he need not be holy, because he has not, strictly 
speaking, a share in the work. So again the 
power of administering the Sacraments, which 
also is supernatural and miraculous, does not 
imply personal hohness ; nor is there any thing 
surprising in God's giving to a bad man this gift, 
or the gift of miracles, any more than in His 
giving him any natural talent or gift, strength or 
agility of frame, eloquence, or medical skill. It 
is otherwise with the office of preaching and 
prophesying, and to this I have been referring ; 
for the truth first goes into the minds of the 
speakers, and is apprehended and fashioned there, 
and then comes out from them as, in one sense, 
its source and its parent. The divine word is 
begotten in them, and the offspring has their 
features and tells of them. They are not like 
" the dumb animal, speaking with man's voice," 
on which Balaam rode, a mere instrument of 


God's word, but they have " received an unction 
from the Holy One, and they know all things," 
and " where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is 
liberty ;" and while they deliver what they have 
received, they enforce what they feel and know. 
" We have known and believed^'' says St. John, 
" the charity which God hath to us." 

So has it been all through the history of the 
Church ; Moses does not write as David ; nor 
Isaias as Jeremias ; nor St. John as St. Paul. 
And so of the great Doctors of the Church, St. 
Athanasius, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Leo, 
St. Thomas, each has his own manner, each 
speaks his own words, though he speaks the 
while the words of God. They speak from them- 
selves, they speak in their own persons, they speak 
from the heart, from their own experience, with 
their own arguments, with their own deductions, 
with their own modes of expression. Now can 
you fancy, my brethren, such hearts, such feelings 
to be unholy ? how could it be so, without defil- 
ing, and thereby nullifying, the word of God ? 
If one drop of corruption makes the purest water 
worthless, as the slightest savour of bitterness 
spoils the most delicate \dands, how can it be 
that the word of truth and holiness can proceed 
profitably from impure lips and an earthly heart ? 
No, as is the tree, so is the fruit ; " beware of 
false prophets," says our Lord ; and then He 


adds, "from their fruits ye shall know them. 
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of 
thistles ?" Is it not so, my brethren ? which of 
you would go to ask counsel of another, however 
learned, however gifted, however aged, if you 
thought him unholy ? nay, though you feel and 
are sure, as far as absolution goes, that a bad 
priest could give it as really as a holy priest, yet 
for advice, for comfort, for instruction, you would 
not go to one whom you did not respect. " Out 
of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speak- 
eth ;" " a good man out of the good treasure of 
his heart bringeth good, and an evil man out of 
the evil treasure bringeth forth evil." 

So then is it in the case of the soul ; and so is 
it with the body also ; as the offspring of holiness 
is holy in the instance of spiritual births, so is it 
in the instance of physical. The child is like the 
parent. Mary was no mere instrument in God's 
dispensation ; the Word of God did not merely 
come to her and go from her ; He did not merely 
pass through her, as He may pass through us in 
Holy Communion ; it was no heavenly body 
which the Eternal Son assumed, fashioned by the 
Angels, and brought down to this lower world: 
no ; He imbibed. He sucked up her blood and her 
substance into His Divine Person ; He became 
man of her ; and received her lineaments and her 
features as the appearance and character under 
which He should manifest Himself to the world. 


He was known, doubtless, by His likeness to her 
to be her Son. Thus His Mother is the first of 
Prophets, for of her came the Word bodily ; she 
is the sole oracle of Truth, for the Way, the Truth, 
and the Life, vouchsafed to be her Son; she is the 
one mould of Divine Wisdom, and in that mould it 
was indelibly cast. Surely then, if " the first fruit 
be holy, the mass also is holy ; and if the root be 
holy, so are the branches." It was natural, it was 
fitting, that so it should be ; it was congruous 
that, whatever the Omnipotent could work in the 
person of the finite, should be wrought in her. 
I say, if the Prophets must be holy, " to whom 
the Word of God comes," what shall we say of 
her, who was so specially favoured, that the true 
and substantial Word, and not His shadow or 
His voice, was not merely made in her, but born 
of her ? who was not merely the organ of God's 
message, but the origin of His human existence, 
the living fountain from which He drew His most 
precious blood, and the material of His most 
holy flesh ? Was it not fitting, beseemed it not, 
that the Eternal Father should prepare her for 
this ministration by some pre-eminent sanctifica- 
tion ? Do not earthly parents act thus by their 
children ? do they put them out to strangers ? 
do they commit them to any chance person to 
suckle them ? Shall even careless parents show 
a certain tenderness and solicitude in this matter, 
and shall not God Himself show it when He com- 


mits His Eternal Word to the custody of man ? It 
was to be expected then that, if the Son was God, 
the Mother should be as worthy of Him, as crea- 
ture can be worthy of Creator ; that grace should 
have in her its " perfect work ;" that, if she bore 
the Eternal Wisdom, she should be that created 
wisdom in whom " is all the grace of the Way and 
the Truth;" that if she be the Mother of "fair 
love, and fear, and knowledge, and holy hope," 
" she should give an odour like cinnamon and 
balm, and sweetness like to choice myrrh." Can 
we set bounds to the holiness of her w^ho was the 
Mother of the Holiest ? 

Such then is the truth ever cherished in the 
deep heart of the Church, and witnessed by the 
keen apprehension of her children, that no limits 
but those proper to a creature, can be assigned 
to the sanctity of Mary. Did Abraham believe 
that a son should be born to him of his aged wife? 
then Mary's faith w^as greater when she accepted 
Gabriel's message. Did Judith consecrate her 
widowhood to God to the surprise of her people ? 
much more did Mary, from her first youth, devote 
her virginity. Did Samuel when a child inhabit 
the Temple, secluded from the world ? Mary 
too was by her parents lodged in the same holy 
precincts, at the age when children begin to 
choose between good and evil. Was Solomon on 
his birth called " Dear to the Lord ?" and shall 


not the destined Mother of God be dear to Him, 
from the moment she was born ? But further 
still ; St. John Baptist was sanctified by the 
Spirit before his birth ; shall Mary be only equal 
to him ? is it not fitting that her privilege 
should surpass his ? is it wonderful, if grace, 
which prevented his birth by three months, should 
in her case run up to the very first moment of her 
being, outstrip the imputation of sin, and be 
beforehand with the usurpation of Satan ? Mary 
must surpass all the Saints ; the very fact that 
certain privileges are known to have been theirs, 
proves to us at once, from the necessity of the 
case, that she had the same and higher. Her 
conception then was immaculate, in order that she 
might surpass all Saints in the date as well the 
fulness of her sanctification. 

But though the grace bestowed upon her was so 
incomprehensibly great, do not therefore suppose, 
my brethren, that it excluded her co-operation ; 
she, as we, was on her trial ; she, as we, increased 
in grace ; she, as we, merited the increase. 
Here is another thought leading to the conclusion 
which I have been drawing. She was not like 
some inanimate work of the Creator, made beau- 
tiful and glorious by the law of its being ; she 
ended, not began, with her full perfection. She 
had a first grace and a second grace, and she 
gained the second from the use of the first. She 


was altogether a moral agent, as others ; she 
advanced on, as all Saints do, from strength to 
strength, from height to height, so that at five 
years old she had merited what she had not 
merited at her birth, and at thirteen what she had 
not merited at five. Well, my brethren, of what 
was she thought worthy, when she was thirteen ? 
what did it seem fitting to confer on that poor 
child, at an age when most children have not 
begun to think of God or of themselves, or to use 
the grace He gives them at all ; at an age, when 
many a Saint, as he is in the event, is still in the 
heavy slumber of sin, and is meriting, not good, 
but evil at the hands of his just Judge ? It be- 
fitted the sanctity with which she was by that time 
beautified, that she should be then raised even to 
the dignity of Mother of God. There is doubt- 
less no measure between human nature and God's 
rewards ; He allows us to merit what we cannot 
claim except from His allowance. He promises 
us heaven for our good deeds here, and under the 
covenant of that promise we are justly said to 
merit it, though heaven is an infinite good and 
we are but finite creatures. When then I say 
that Mary merited to be the Mother of God, I 
am speaking of what it was natural and becoming 
that God, being God, should grant to the more 
than angelical perfection which she by His grace 
had obtained. I do not say that she could 



simply claim, any more than she did contemplate, 
the reward which she received ; but allowing 
this, still consider how heroical, how transcen- 
dental must have been that saintliness, for which 
this prerogative was God's return. Enoch was 
taken away from among the wicked, and we 
therefore say, Behold a just man who was too 
good for the world. Noe was saved, and saved 
others, from the flood ; and we say therefore that 
he earned it by his justice. How great was 
Abraham's faith, since it gained him the title of 
the friend of God ! How great was the zeal of 
the Levites, since they merited thereby to be 
the sacerdotal tribe ! How great the love of 
David, since, for his sake, the kingdom was not 
taken away from his son when he fell into 
idolatry ! How great the innocence of Daniel, 
since he had it revealed to him in this life that 
he should persevere to the end ! What then the 
faith, the zeal, the love, the innocence of Mary, 
since it prepared her after so brief a period to be 
the Mother of God ! 

Hence you see, my brethren, that our Lady's 
glories do not rest simply on her maternity ; that 
distinction is rather the crown of them : unless 
she had been " full of grace," as the Angel 
speaks, unless she had been predestinated to be 
the Queen of Saints, unless she had merited more 
than all men and Angels together, she would not 


have fitly been exalted to her unspeakable dig- 
nity. The Feast of the Annunciation, when 
Gabriel came to her, the Christmas Feast, when 
Christ was born, is the centre, not the range 
of her glories ; it is the noon of her day, the 
measure of her beginning and her ending. It 
recalls our thoughts to the Feast of her Concep- 
tion, and then it carries them on to the Feast of 
the Assumption. It suggests to us how pure 
had been her first rising, and it anticipates for us 
how transcendent were to be the glories of her 

Come, my dear brethren, I would not weary 
you with argument in a festive season, when we 
should ofi'er to the Blessed Virgin the homage of 
our love and joy, rather than of our philosophy ; 
yet, let me finish as I have begun ; — I will be 
brief, and bear with me if I view her bright 
Assumption, as I have done her immaculate 
purity, rather as a point of doctrine, than as a 
theme for devotion. 

It was surely fitting then, it was becoming, that 
she should be taken up into heaven and not lie 
in the grave till Christ's second coming, who had 
passed a life of sanctity and of miracle such as hers. 
All the works of God are in a beautiful harmony ; 
they are carried on to the end as they begin. 
This is the difficulty which men of the world 
find in beUeving miracles at all ; they think 


these break the order and consistency of God's 
visible world, not knowing that they do but sub- 
serve to a higher order of things, and introduce 
a supernatural perfection. But at least, my 
brethren, when one miracle is wrought, it may be 
expected to draw others after it for the comple- 
tion of what is begun. Miracles must be wrought 
for some great end ; and if the course of things 
fell back again into a natural order before its ter- 
mination, how could we but feel a disappoint- 
ment ? and if we were told that this certainly was 
to be, how could we but judge the information 
improbable and difficult to believe ? Now this 
apphes to the history of. our Lady. I say, it 
would be a greater miracle, if, her life being what 
it was, her death was like that of other men, than 
if it were such as to correspond to her life. 
Who can conceive, my brethren, that God should 
so repay the debt which he condescended to owe 
to His Mother, for the elements of His human 
Body, as to allow the flesh and blood from which 
It was taken to moulder in the grave ? Do the 
sons of men thus deal with their mothers ? do 
they not nourish and sustain them in their feeble- 
ness, and keep them in life while they are able ? 
Or who can conceive, that that virginal frame, 
which never sinned, was to undergo the death of 
a sinner ? Why should she share the curse of 
Adam, who had no share in his fall ? " Dust 


thou art, and into dust thou shalt return," was 
the sentence upon sin ; she then who was not a 
sinner, fitly never saw corruption. She died 
then, my brethren, because even our Lord and 
Saviour died ; she died, as she suffered, because 
she was in this world, because she was in a state 
of things in which suffering and death are the 
rule. She lived under their external sway ; and, 
as she obeyed Caesar by coming for enrolment to 
Bethlehem, so did she, when God willed it, yield 
to the tyranny of death, and was dissolved into 
soul and body, as well as others. But though she 
died as well as others, she died not as others die ; 
for, through the merits of her Son, by whom she 
was what she was, by the grace of Christ which 
in her had anticipated sin, which had filled her 
with light, which had purified her flesh from all 
defilement, she had been saved from disease and 
malady, and all that weakens and decays the bodily 
frame. Original sin had not been found in her, 
by the wear of her senses, and the waste of her 
frame, and the decrepitude of years, propagating 
death. She died, but her death was a mere fact, 
not an effect ; and, when it was over, it ceased to 
be. She died, that she might live ; she died as a 
matter of form or (as I may call it) a ceremony, in 
order to fulfil, what is called, the debt of nature, — 
not primarily for herself or because of sin, but to 
submit herself to her condition, to glorify God, 


to do what her Son did ; not however as her Son 
and Saviour, with any suffering for any special 
end ; not with a martyr's death, for her martyr- 
dom had been in Uving ; not as an atonement, for 
man could not make it, and One had made it, and 
made it for all; but in order to finish her course, 
and to receive her crown. 

And therefore she died in private. It became 
Him, who died for the world, to die in the world's 
sight ; it became the Great Sacrifice to be lifted 
up on high, as a light that could not be hid. But 
she, the lily of Eden, who had always dwelt out 
of the sight of man, fittingly did she die in the 
garden's shade, and amid the sweet flowers in 
which she had lived. Her departure made no 
noise in the world. The Church went about her 
common duties, preaching, converting, suffering ; 
there were persecutions, there was fleeing from 
place to place, there were martyrs, there were 
triumphs ; at length the rumour spread through 
Christendom that Mary was no longer upon earth. 
Pilgrims went to and fro ; they sought for her 
relics, but they found them not ; did she die at 
Ephesus ? or did she die at Jerusalem ? accounts 
varied ; but her tomb could not be pointed out, or 
if it was found, it was open ; and instead of her 
pure and fragrant body, there was a growth of 
lilies from the earth which she had touched. So, 
inquirers went home marvelling, and waiting 


for further light. And then the tradition came, 
wafted westward on the aromatic breeze, how 
that when the time of her dissolution was at hand, 
and her soul was to pass in triumph before the 
judgment-seat of her Son, the Apostles were 
suddenly gathered together in one place, even in 
the Holy City, to bear part in the joyful cere- 
monial ; how that they buried her with fitting 
rites ; how that the third day, when they came to 
the tomb, they found it empty, and angelic choirs 
with their glad voices were heard singing day 
and night the glories of their risen Queen. But, 
however we feel towards the detail of this 
history, (nor is there any thing in it which will 
be unwelcome or difficult to piety,) so much 
cannot be doubted, from the consent of the 
whole Catholic world and the revelations made 
to holy souls, that, as is befitting, she is, soul and 
body, with her Son and God in heaven, and that 
we are enabled to celebrate, not only her death, 
but her Assumption. 

And now, my dear brethren, what is befitting 
in us, if all that I have been telling you is be- 
fitting in Mary ? If the Mother of Emmanuel 
ought to be the first of creatures in sanctity and 
in beauty; if it became her to be free from all sin 
from the very first, and from the moment she 
received her first grace to begin to merit more; 


and if such as was her beginning, such was her 
end, her conception immaculate and her death an 
assumption; if she died, but revived, and is ex- 
alted on high ; what is befitting in the children 
of such a Mother, but an imitation, in their mea- 
sure, of her devotion, her meekness, her simplicity, 
her modesty, and her sweetness ? Her glories 
are not only for the sake of her Son, they are for 
our sakes also. Let us copy her faith, who re- 
ceived God's message by the Angel without a 
doubt ; her patience, who endured St. Joseph's 
surprise without a word ; her obedience, who went 
up to Bethlehem in the winter and bore our Lord 
in a stable ; her meditative spirit, who pondered 
in her heart what she saw and heard about 
Him ; her fortitude, whose heart the sword went 
through ; her self-surrender, who gave Him up 
during His ministry and consented to His death. 

Above all let us imitate her purity, who, rather 
than relinquish her virginity, was willing to lose 
Him for a Son. O my dear children, young men 
and young women, what need have you of the 
intercession of the Virgin mother, of her help, of 
her pattern, in this respect ! What shall bring 
you forward in the narrow way, if you live in the 
world, but the thought and patronage of Mary ! 
"What shall seal your senses, what shall tran- 
quillize your heart, when sights and sounds of 
danger are around you, but Mary ? What shall 


give you patience and endurance, when you are 
wearied out with the length of the conflict with 
evil, with the unceasing necessity of precau- 
tions, with the irksomeness of observing them, 
with the tediousness of their repetition, with the 
strain upon your mind, with your forlorn and 
cheerless condition, but a loving communion with 
her ? She will comfort you in your discourage- 
ments, solace you in your fatigues, raise you after 
your falls, reward you for your successes. She 
will show you her Son, your God and your all. 
When your spirit within you is excited, or relaxed, 
or depressed, when it loses its balance, when it is 
restless and wayward, when it is sick of what it 
has, and hankers after what it has not, when your 
eye is solicited with evil, and your mortal frame 
trembles under the shadow of the Tempter, what 
will bring you to yourselves, to peace and to 
health, but the cool breath of the Immaculate 
and the frasrance of the Rose of Saron ? It is 
the boast of the Catholic Religion, that it has the 
gift of making the young heart chaste ; and why 
is this, but that it gives us Jesus for our food, 
and Mary for our nursing Mother ? Fulfil this 
boast in yourselves ; prove to the world that you 
are following no false teaching, vindicate the 
glory of your Mother Mary, whom the world 
blasphemes, in the very face of the world, by 
the simplicity of your own deportment, and the 


sanctity of your words and deeds. Go to her for 
the royal heart of innocence. She is the beau- 
tiful gift of God, which outshines the fascinations 
of a bad world, and which no one ever sought in 
sincerity and was disappointed. " She is more 
precious than all riches ; and all things that are 
desired are not to be compared with her. Her 
ways are beautiful ways, and all her paths are 
peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold 
on her ; and he that shall retain her is blessed. 
As a vine hath she brought forth a pleasant odour, 
and her flowers are the fruit of honour and virtue. 
Her spirit is sweeter than honey, and her heritage 
than the honeycomb. They that eat her shall yet 
be hungry, and they that drink her shall still 
thirst. Whoso hearkeneth to her, shall not be con- 
founded, and they that work by her, shall not 


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